Blues on the move

The University of Portsmouth's Langstone campus at Furze Lane
The University of Portsmouth's Langstone campus at Furze Lane

The University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus has emerged as a leading candidate to serve as Pompey’s new training ground.

The Furze Lane venue is one of a number of options currently being considered as the Blues seek a training base within the city.

Other options include the Royal Navy’s sports ground at HMS Collingwood and Roko Health Club.

But it is the university campus in Milton which is currently the favoured choice, with the Blues thought to be ready to lease the land.

Pompey have spent the past 10 years at the Wellington Sports Ground in Eastleigh, owned by Southampton University.

However, the club are eager for a more cost-effective location.

In addition, Michael Appleton has concerns over the pitches at the current training ground, while he remains keen for his team to be based in the city.

At this stage, the Blues are examining all options, with nothing expected to be finalised until any prospective takeover is completed.

Appleton, though, is keen to relocate the training base to Portsmouth.

He said: ‘We are still in discussions at the moment and have had a look at quite a few sites.

‘There are two or three different sites I have seen, including the university one, while other members of my staff have seen a few others. We are aware, though, there aren’t that many sites out there which can be used as training grounds.

‘At the moment, we are at Eastleigh and that has been the case for a long time. But if a better option came up we would look at that.

‘When I first came here I mentioned how it was disappointing that we are Portsmouth Football Club yet train in Southampton.

‘The players should really be training in Portsmouth, nowhere else. That makes sense.

‘Obviously, we are looking at the finances in terms of staying at Eastleigh, which is important.

‘But, also, I want to make sure the pitches are up to scratch and be the best they possibly can.

‘We have a few hurdles we have to get across for another training ground to happen and the club has been working really hard to get a budget that’s realistic.

‘I am sure that somewhere along the line there is probably going to be a strong chance we move back into Portsmouth.’

The Langstone Campus is home to the university’s sports grounds.

These contain a number of football pitches which overlook Langstone Harbour. In addition, there are 3G rubber-crumb all-weather pitches, which on weekdays nights host the Pitch Invasion 5-a-side league.

It is also home to 565 students in three halls of residence.

And Appleton is aware, should there be a training ground move, the facilities will be crucial.

He added: ‘A lot of things have to be right.

‘I have had first experience of that at West Brom when not everything was on site and it can cause problems. We need pitches, gym facilities, medical, analysis, everything.

‘You can almost picture it and have an idea what it would look like in a year’s time. With a little bit of work and development it could work.’