Midfielder gives Pompey deadline to sign him

Brian Howard is keen to sign for Pompey

Brian Howard is keen to sign for Pompey

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Brian Howard has set Pompey a deadline of August 1 to secure his signature.

The former Reading man is currently training with the Blues and been pinpointed by Michael Appleton as a potentially pivotal signing.

There are no shortage of options for Howard, with clubs from the Championship, League One and League Two interested in the free agent.

At present, though, the Blues are in pole position for the New Forest-based midfielder.

The sticking point, as ever, continues to be their inability to sign players while the Football League demand the continued slashing of the club’s mammoth wage bill.

It is hoped that will be addressed once Luke Varney and David Norris move on, with Leeds their likely destination.

In the meantime, Howard will start tonight’s match against Gibraltar in the heart of Pompey’s midfield. And he wants his future settled before the end of the month.

Howard said: ‘Ideally, I would like to sort out my future as soon as possible.

‘That said, there is still a lot to think about with a lot of negotiations going on in different places.

‘August 1 is my deadline, really. I would like to be signed and delivered somewhere.

‘There are a few things on the table and a lot of things for me to think about – but if something could be done here then that definitely would be an option I would seriously consider.

‘Ideally, I would like to stay in the southern part of the country. I grew up in Eastleigh where the training ground is, I live in the New Forest 10 minutes away and used to commute to Reading down the road.

‘I also got married in the summer and lost my dad in the summer, so my family are quite important to me at this moment in time and they are all based in the Eastleigh and Winchester area.

‘It’s also important I go to a club to play the right football, in a right way. I want a club looking to move forward rather than a club just cutting their budget and hoping to survive.

‘Me and the gaffer said we would be honest with each other all the way along since I came in here.

‘I am sure if there was an opportunity to do something he would tell me, and if I decide that it is too long and I can’t hold on anymore I will be totally be honest with him.’

Howard has been buoyed by the quality of fellow triallists at the Spanish training camp.

Appleton has also revealed to him other targets he has lined up

And ex-Southampton apprentice Howard admits he is impressed by the Pompey manager’s ambition.

He added: ‘I could go to a League One club this year which next year could be in the Championship – or go to a Championship side this year and next year be in League One.

‘I don’t want to go into the Championship saying “if we can finish one place above the drop zone it would be a good season”. That is not for me.

‘I want to play in a team that is going to be winning most weeks rather than a team that is happy to go to places to nick a draw or win.’