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Pompey reprieved as Lawrence goes

Portsmouth have been spared being closed down after Liam Lawrence, the last senior player remaining on the Fratton Park books, agreed to leave.

Portsmouth's administrators said the midfielder had reached a compromise agreement, meaning former owner Balram Chainrai's company Portpin is in a position to buy back the financially-stricken club.

Administrator Trevor Birch had set a deadline of August 10 for every senior player to be off the wage bill, saying he would otherwise be forced to shut Portsmouth down.

"We have negotiated a compromise agreement with Liam Lawrence, who will leave the club when the paperwork is finalised later today,'' a statement from Birch on the club's official website read.

"I'd like to thank Liam for his support, and all of the other players, for putting the club's interest ahead of their own. They have all had to make very difficult decisions and been placed in an impossible position which wasn't of their making.''

On Thursday, Portsmouth reached an agreement with defender Tal Ben Haim, who agreed to leave. That meant only the cases of Lawrence and forward Kanu had remained to be resolved.

In a statement, Birch said: "The progress we have made over the past 24 hours means there is now a much better prospect of completing the sale of the club and avoiding liquidation."

He said the breakthrough meant talks with potential new owners Portpin would go on, with the intention being to finalise a takeover within days.

On Tuesday, Ben Haim said administrators PKF would have "blood on their hands" if Portsmouth shut down on Friday, claiming he was £300,000 short of agreeing a deal to walk away from his contract.

"The fact is that we are only about £300,000 apart in negotiations," he said in a statement. "If they want to liquidate the club for that money while they still charge their huge fees, then all I can say is that the blood is very much on their hands."

But Birch hit back at the comments, saying: "To say we have blood on our hands as administrators... well, what do you think we think about that? It's not helpful, put it that way."

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