McLeod craves Appy stay to keep up recent Blues boom

In-form: Izale McLeod
In-form: Izale McLeod

For Izale McLeod the form is improving, the goals are flowing and the results are pouring in.

Now he wants to ensure the past month’s boom continues by keeping in-demand Michael Appleton at Fratton Park.

Burnley and Bolton are eyeing up the Blues boss to cast an uncertain shadow over the club.

Appleton insists he is happy to remain on the south coast, while an official approach has still to be received from either admirer.

However, sources in the north west are adamant the 36-year-old is being pursued hard by Burnley and is still being looked at by Bolton.

In the meantime, Pompey’s manager took training as normal yesterday and attended the traditional pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s fixture with Shrewsbury.

Definitely business as usual for Appleton amid the undoubted distractions playing around him.

For McLeod, the potential loss of Pompey’s figurehead remains unthinkable.

In league terms, the team have now picked up 10 points from a possible 12 over the past four matches to rise from the relegation zone to 12th spot.

It has coincided with McLeod weighing in with his best performances since arriving in the summer, scoring in each of his past four games. The loan arrival of strike partner Wes Thomas has also helped with that.

And ex-Barnet man McLeod, who now has seven goals for the season, believes it is imperative Appleton stays to build on those improved showings.

He said: ‘There’s going to be speculation about his (Appleton’s) future – he’s a top manager and coach.

‘You don’t want to lose a manager like him, so hopefully he stays and we’ll kick on.

‘It has not been easy for him since he has taken over here but everyone can see he’s starting to assemble and get the kind of squad he wants.

‘We are playing the way he wants to play, so hopefully he stays to finish the job.

‘If you’re wanted it’s always nice, especially by top clubs.

‘But I hope he can stay to finish what he started.’

Pompey bounced back from that abject Wycombe result to defeat Crewe last weekend.

It represented a test of character Appleton’s men passed with flying colours.

Shrewsbury visit Fratton Park tomorrow lying two places and two points short of the Blues.

The hosts have shown good form since the 3-0 defeat at Notts County last month.

And McLeod insists things are coming together.

He added: ‘We were disappointed about the Wycombe result. We held our hands up and put it right.

‘It’s four unbeaten in the league now and that’s what we need to carry forward into the next game.

‘Away from home we have done well but at home we haven’t pushed on and made our dominance count. We did that against Crewe. Teams come here and raise their game – we are a big scalp for people.

‘We have to get used to performing to the level we do all the time.’