Appleton backs youngster to solve problem

113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Adam Webster. ''Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash.  ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-841)
113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Adam Webster. ''Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-841)

Michael Appleton thinks Adam Webster can be the short-term solution to his left-back woes.

Threadbare Pompey currently do not have a left-back at the club.

Joe Mattock’s loan has still to start up again, with his parent club West Brom keen for him to remain as cover during their injury crisis.

Meanwhile, Hermann Hreidarsson has joined Coventry City on a free transfer.

That move was given the go-ahead on the understanding the Football League would allow a loan replacement to be brought in.

Appleton is now attempting to bring in a new signing.

The Blues currently have only 19 players in their squad, which does not contain a left-sided full-back.

Greg Halford has filled in that role during the past two matches, while Tal Ben Haim featured there earlier in the campaign. Yet, in Appleton’s eyes, Webster has now emerged as a genuine contender.

The 17-year-old Academy product made his first-team debut against West Ham at right-back on Saturday after replacing the ill Halford with 15 minutes remaining.

And Pompey’s boss believes Webster could feature on the other side of defence as the Mattock situation continues to drag on.

He said: ‘I have said it plenty of times, I have no qualms about Adam whatsoever.

‘From our point of view, what I don’t want to do is close the door on Joe (Mattock) because he is in a situation where West Brom have a year option on his contract.

‘If they chose to exercise the year they have left, they will probably want for him to get games.

‘So if he’s not going to get games there then, hopefully, he can still return and do a job for us here.

‘It’s a little bit of a balancing act in terms of whether I strengthen certain areas in the team hoping Joe will come back – or do I go out and get a left-back?

‘To be honest, I think we’ve got a young boy (Webster) who came in on Saturday and is quite comfortable on the left or right side.

‘That is as well as people like Joel Ward who can fill in during a short period of time.’

Webster has been promoted to the first-team set-up in recent weeks after impressing for the Academy.

The youngster from West Wittering is only a first-year scholar.

But he has caught Appleton’s eye while training with the first team.

And Appleton was happy with Saturday’s 15-minute cameo.

The Pompey manager added: ‘Adam has got a great temperament, a great attitude and a lot of quality.

‘I’ve just got to make sure over the coming weeks we look after him in the right way.

‘He may have to play at certain times because of the situation we are in.

‘If he does, I think he will be fine. He proved that on Saturday.

‘Coming on against a top-of the-table side and knowing we were down to 10 men takes a lot of courage.

‘And I thought he showed that.’