Appleton plots bright future

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton

Uncertainty dogs Pompey’s long-term existence as the club remains entrenched in administration.

The division they will line-up in next term is also undecided, such is their precarious league placing.

The future is worryingly vague, yet Michael Appleton is already planning ahead.

Through all the insecurity engulfing the club, its manager is busily plotting a course designed to succeed.

The Pompey boss has already started pursuing playing targets he feels can contribute towards a brighter life at Fratton Park.

It’s an absolute necessity, inevitably hindered by the tourniquet which continues to restrict any positive movement.

Chief scout Lee Maybury was one of those made redundant by the Blues after entering administration in February.

In fact, the Burnley-based 40-year-old represented the club’s only scout.

Instead, identifying players is purely down to Appleton and first-team coaches Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray – in-between their other extensive duties, of course.

For Pompey’s manager, though, irrespective of what else lies in store for the club, he has plans he continues to put into place.

‘Regardless of what division you are maybe in, what I have got to do at the minute, and I am doing it now, is planning in terms of a squad I think I may have next year and the type of player and personality I can bring in,’ said Appleton.

‘It might be I am looking at recruiting a player now who is probably playing in the Championship.

‘But if we did go down – and that is a worst-case scenario – he would be prepared to play in League One for one season.

‘Alternately, if there is a League One player, would he be able to play in the Championship if we were looking to stay up?

‘They are the things which I need to balance out.

‘Our recruitment structure at present is pretty much myself because we haven’t got a chief scout or any scouts out there working for us as such.

‘It is just people I know in the game who are doing me favours at the minute.

‘So until we get a scout and a recruitment structure set up, that is going to make life very difficult.

‘At the end of the day, I am having to do probably two or three different roles all at once at the minute, which is difficult because there are only 24 hours in the day and you usually have to sleep at least six of them. There is only so much you can do.

‘Genuinely, I can say I am working very, very hard to recruit players for next year.

‘From my point of view, that will never stop and I will continue to do that regardless of what happens on the field.’

Appleton is currently also weighing up Pompey’s pre-season programme.

Last summer the club ventured to South Carolina for two weeks – a trip which was largely funded by their hosts.

However, the stay was soured by calamitous problems on the return journey when a flight was scrapped after a baggage truck ploughed into the plane.

As a result, a Fratton Park friendly against Spanish side Real Betis had to be scrapped.

This year’s destination has still to be decided, but Appleton is exploring all options.

He added: ‘I am also trying to organise pre-season, which is very difficult because we are in administration and don’t know what is going to happen.

‘You don’t know what division you are going to be in so have got to be careful who you decide to play in pre-season.

‘All of those things are difficult to do at the minute.

‘But you just have to try as best as you possibly can so when something gets sorted one way or the other, regarding ownership, at least you’ve got a little bit of something to play with regarding next season – whether that is pre-season or the recruitment of players.’