Appy: Hitman will deliver goals this season

Izale McLeod in action against Bournemouth  Picture: Barry Zee
Izale McLeod in action against Bournemouth Picture: Barry Zee

Michael Appleton backed Izale McLeod to be a goalscoring machine in League One.

McLeod opened his Blues account on his debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

And Appleton has no doubt the summer arrival from Barnet, who he pursued doggedly during the close season, will bag goals regularly this season.

He said: ‘Izale was fantastic on Saturday.

‘He was a little bit fortunate with the goal he got but he asked the keeper to make two or three very good saves.

‘Izale looked a threat and was clever in terms of getting in the hole.

‘He gets on the half turn as well and is dangerous.

‘One thing is for sure – Izale McLeod will get us a lot of goals this season.

‘The one thing that encouraged me on Saturday was that, while other players were getting tired after 60 minutes, he and strike-partner Luke (Rodgers) got stronger together. That’s pleasing.

‘We need them to look after themselves because we now have a big away game at Colchester.’

Appleton saw his Pompey players run of steam in the second half against the Cherries.

He made no bones about the fact that is going to be the case in the coming weeks, as his squad plays catch-up.

Appleton said: ‘I think physically they are going to be a little bit behind the others.

‘There were a lot of players running on empty around the hour mark on Saturday.

‘We are four or five weeks behind physically where we need to be with some.

‘They are lacking compared to some of the teams, that’s why we are going to need a bit of luck for four or five weeks.’