Appy: Run-in will shape my Pompey plans

Pompey manager Michael Appleton during Pompey training yesterday Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey manager Michael Appleton during Pompey training yesterday Picture: Robin Jones

Michael Appleton has told his men their futures will be decided between now and the end of the season.

Pompey travel to Doncaster tomorrow with their Championship status on life support.

The Blues will be relegated at the Keepmoat Stadium if Bristol City better their result when they go to Birmingham.

Appleton has already made it clear there needs to be an overhaul of his squad moving forward.

The extent of that is still to be decided, with uncertainty hanging over the club’s future.

Appleton admits he is leaning towards a complete clearing of the decks if relegation is confirmed.

He believes that will become clear by the time Pompey close their campaign at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, April 28.

Appleton said: ‘We can’t start giving new contracts out while we’re in administration. But we’ll get to that point somewhere down the line.

‘I doubt if it will be before the last game of the season.

‘Then we’ll sit down with the players who are out of contract.

‘Whether they are here next season, who knows?

‘If we can sort something out we will. If not we move on.

‘We can just stay in contact with players, agents and people we are trying to get into the club or, let’s face it, trying to get out of the club.

‘I don’t want to talk about contracts and who is available until April 29.

‘If I’m asked about an ideal scenario if we are going into a different division, it would be better (to have a wholesale clear out).

‘That means a fresh start for everyone after all that has gone on at this football club.

‘That’s not just the players we are bringing in.

‘I’m sure there are certain players at the club at the minute who either want a new start or feel they deserve a new start.

‘That scenario will take care of itself over the next two-and-half to three weeks – and beyond.

‘But the longer it goes on without ownership, the more it looks like it will be everyone, or pretty much everyone.’

Appleton has demanded complete professionalism and pride from his players over the final four games.

He has made it clear they have the club’s pride to consider, even if relegation is confirmed.

The 36-year-old insists the challenge is to keep the fight going to stay up for as long as possible.

Appleton said: ‘It’s important we stay competitive and do everything we can in the next four games.

‘Every team we play needs to know they’ve been in a game.

‘I’ve said all along we need to take this as far as we can. Whether that’s the Forest game, who knows?

‘If it’s the Derby game, so be it.

‘We still have two games to play in front of our own fans.

‘It’s important we put a performance on to give them hope and belief for next year, regardless of whether it’s the same team or not.

‘At the end of the day, those players are employed by Portsmouth Football Club and they have to do everything in their power to make sure we win games between now and April 28.

‘That’s the message I’ll be giving them.’