Ward: We can keep Blues afloat

Joel Ward was in impressive form against Coventry as Pompey recored an important win at Fratton Park

Joel Ward was in impressive form against Coventry as Pompey recored an important win at Fratton Park

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Match-winner Joel Ward has targeted keeping Pompey afloat in the Championship amid their off-the-field woes.

The Emsworth talent scored the winning goal in the 2-1 success over Coventry on Saturday.

Ward’s second-half strike gave Michael Appleton his first win as Pompey manager against the Sky Blues.

The victory accompanied continuing uncertainty behind the scenes at Fratton Park, after club owners Convers Sports Initiatives went into administration last week.

Ward spoke of his concern for Pompey staff, who are again fearing for their futures.

The threat of a possible points deduction also hangs over the Blues, with the Football League now weighing up what action to take next.

Ward is hoping not to see that happen, with a potential points loss giving them a mountain to climb to survive in the Championship

Instead, the 22-year-old wants to see stability and has called on the players to keep their focus on football.

Ward said: ‘As players, we are concentrating on the pitch.

‘We want to let our football do the talking. We’ll have to let the management deal with all the off-the-pitch antics.

‘We want to stay focused on the football.

‘We’re professional and have to do that. We are here to play football.

‘My heart goes out to all the people at the club.

‘It’s something you never want to see.

‘Our job is to play football, keep the club up and get back to where we want to be.

‘We have to keep our heads down and let our football do the talking.

‘Any club would not want points taken off them.

‘We’ll let the other people sort the other stuff.’

Ward was delighted to see another success arrive at home, with the win keeping daylight between 18th-placed Pompey and the bottom three.

He believes the players are now responding to Michael Appleton’s demand to play football and express themselves.

Ward said: ‘It’s a massive win.

‘We want to better ourselves.

‘Coming into the game, we needed the win and were delighted to get it.

‘The manager wants us to play the right way.

‘It’s going to take a bit of time to do that, but I’m glad he’s here and can take the club forward.

‘He wants us to play and get the ball down, play some nice football – and do it the right way.

‘That has to be in the right areas at the right times.

‘We have to play with that freedom, express ourselves and enjoy it.

‘We played some nice football at times against Coventry. We have to do that and keep moving forward.’