Star man vows to stick with Pompey

Brian Howard has vowed to stay at Pompey for Michael Appleton and the Fratton faithful
Brian Howard has vowed to stay at Pompey for Michael Appleton and the Fratton faithful

Brian Howard promised he will not walk out on Pompey and insisted: I’m staying for the manager.

The Blues skipper revealed he has been inundated with offers to take him away from Fratton Park.

Clubs are lining up to steal the 29-year-old midfielder from Michael Appleton, with players currently on monthly contracts.

But Howard has no interest in leaving the club he arrived at from Reading in the summer, despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Pompey.

And he has cited Appleton as the critical factor for that.

Asked why he has stuck with Pompey despite their troubles, Howard said: ‘I think it’s the gaffer.

‘My phone has been off the hook from agents and clubs saying “you’re only on a month to month, can you get out of it?”.

‘But the gaffer’s shown faith in me and I want to show faith in him.

‘If the club can get something sorted out and we can get players in, it is a proper football club.

‘Saturday was disappointing but, if you look at the week as a whole, there are a lot of positives because it’s still such an inexperienced, young squad.

‘So if we can add three, four, five experienced lads, there’s no reason why the club can’t go places this year.

‘I want to commit. I think I’ve shown my commitment by staying here for so long now.

‘I could easily have left a number of times but I’m very happy to be club captain of a top football club.’

Howard also praised Pompey’s fans and admitted their support was a big reason behind the determination to succeed with the Blues.

The former Barnsley man added: ‘The fans are a major part why I want to stay, too. They are absolutely fantastic.

‘I’ve played at clubs where, maybe, after going a goal behind, they would have started booing but they were still right behind us.

‘I’ve even put my phone on and I’ve had tweets from fans saying, “we’re proud of you” and “never mind, we’ll do it next week”.’

Howard has targeted putting right Pompey’s disappointing 4-2 defeat at Carlisle right against Oldham this weekend.

The loss at Carlisle was the culmination of three games in the opening eight days of the campaign – ending with a 700-mile round trip to Cumbria.

Howard believes a full week on the training pitch in the build-up to Saturday’s game will help his team to put right the mistakes which riddled their first League One defeat at Brunton Park.

He said: ‘The fans were great again on Saturday.

‘Hopefully they can come and back us again and that we don’t start like that.

‘It’s so early in the season but we have to start winning games, otherwise the teams at the top are going to start pulling away.

‘We’ve got a week now where we can do something on the training ground. I’m not making excuses but we haven’t had a chance to do that.

‘It’s a patched-up team, lacking a lot of experience and you could tell on Saturday that this was the case, so we’ve got to get on the training pitch.’