Pompey seek Lawrence loan after blocked move

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth are hoping to sign Liam Lawrence on an emergency loan from Stoke City after a permanent deal between the two clubs collapsed. Lawrence had been scheduled to join Pompey on a permanent basis last week as part of the deadline-day deal which saw Marc Wilson join the Potters with striker David Kitson heading in the opposite direction.

But the Football League yesterday rejected the part of the deal involving the midfielder, claiming that the south coast side failed to submit the necessary paperwork before the 6pm deadline. Portsmouth deny those claims but will now have to lodge a bid with the League to take the player on an emergency loan as the transfer window has closed.

Lawrence, who will return from international duty with the Republic of Ireland today, has not figured in any of Stoke's fixtures so far this season and is keen to seal the move to ensure that he is playing first-team football.

Stoke now hope to loan the 28-year-old to Portsmouth although the move will have to be ratified by the League, who will only authorise the deal if they are satisfied that the Championship side need him. "We're disappointed that this transfer hasn't gone through," said the Stoke chief executive, Tony Scholes. "However, it is important that we work with Portsmouth, the player and the authorities to find an expedient solution.

"That will probably take the form of a loan move until the end of the year and then Liam would finalise his permanent move to Fratton Park in the January window."

Portsmouth later published a statement on their website admitting that they had been notified of their failure to deliver the correct paperwork in time. The statement read: "Portsmouth Football Club have been notified by the Football League that the permanent transfer of Liam Lawrence from Stoke City has not been authorised because the necessary paperwork was not registered in time on transfer deadline day.

"Pompey are now working with Stoke and the League and are confident a solution will be found to overcome the administrative issue, meaning Lawrence will still join the club and be available for this weekend's fixture at home to Ipswich Town."

A Portsmouth spokesman added: "It is obviously disappointing that we have had to adjust things but it is now just a paper exercise to make sure we end up in the same place as envisaged."

Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, remain in talks with the Co-operative Bank ahead of a High Court hearing today over a winding-up petition issued by HM Revenue & Customs.

The Owls obtained an adjournment at an initial hearing last month over unpaid taxes, of which £300,000 has been repaid by the club following the sale of goalkeeper Lee Grant to Burnley. But Wednesday, who have debts in excess of £20m, are currently unable to meet their outgoings and have since accrued further debts of £300,000 in unpaid PAYE.

Without another loan from the bank to keep the taxman at bay the club could find it increasingly difficult to avoid entering administration.

The Owls have been seeking major new investment since the appointment of former chairman Lee Strafford in December 2008, but turned down an offer from American investors Club 9 Sports in May, which amounted to £2m for a 40 per cent stake in the club.

The Football League have imposed two transfer embargoes on Wednesday since the end of last season due to the club's failure to meet its tax bills.

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