Appleton reveals summer recruitment plans

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton is preparing for a summer of bargain hunting – even if the club attracts new investment.

The Blues boss doesn’t anticipate being given a transfer kitty to bolster his Pompey squad.

Instead he will focus on free transfers and out-of-contract players in his bid to add 18 new signings.

Appleton has already met Balram Chainrai ahead of his proposed takeover.

He has also held talks with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

Irrespective of who takes control of the club, the Blues boss is concentrating solely on the free agent market.

That may rule out players under the age of 24, who despite being out of contract would command a compensation fee under Football League rules.

But he is confident he can recruit good players.

He said: ‘I would imagine the players I bring in won’t involve transfer fees.

‘Of course I would like to pay small fees and add players to the squad.

‘But I don’t think I am going to get that luxury.

‘It is what it is. I accept that and I’m in talks with players all the time on that basis.

‘I’m looking at having four or five experienced players in there among what should be a 20-man squad.

‘However, the majority of it will be mid-20s.

‘You have got to be careful, you cannot get in too many young players under the age of 24 because you would have to pay compensation.

‘We are not going to be able to fork out too much in that respect so it is something to be watchful about.

‘The likelihood is there will be a lot of 25 to 28-year-olds recruited.

‘But that will still reduce the age of the squad compared to this season.

‘I’m talking to targets every day and things are going okay.’

Appleton is also braced for the Fratton Park exodus to continue this summer.

That is to accommodate a streamlined wage bill and players arriving.

Across football as a whole the transfer market is exceptionally quiet at present.

Pompey have so far managed to sell Jason Pearce and Stephen Henderson, while Joel Ward will depart soon.

But Appleton concedes it was always going to be a quiet time of year in terms of player dealing.

He added: ‘You rarely get a lot of movement in May, which is understandable.

‘Nobody wants to make the first move, they are just looking at others to do it instead.

‘I expect a lot of movement maybe next month in the transfer market for clubs. Although probably most of it will be done in July or August.

‘There are players who are going to leave, they have to leave.

‘Then hopefully I will be in a position where I can bring players in.’