Appleton’s Pompey transfer woe

Chris Wood had held talks with Pompey but has now joined Bristol City on loan
Chris Wood had held talks with Pompey but has now joined Bristol City on loan

Michael Appleton has admitted Pompey’s transfer stranglehold has cost them the signing of Chris Wood.

And the Blues boss revealed the Football League have instructed no new arrivals will be permitted until players leave Fratton Park.

Pompey are operating on a one-in, one-out basis during the current transfer window.

That has been levied by the Football League, who continue to closely scrutinise the club’s financial dealings as the Blues search for a new owner.

It is a scenario which has seen Appleton blocked from bringing any new recruits to Fratton Park during the first 13 days of the window.

As a result, Pompey’s manager insists he has missed out on a string on loan players.

That includes striker Wood, who yesterday made the switch to Bristol City for the rest of the season from Appleton’s former club West Brom.

The New Zealand international, who scored 10 goals on loan with Birmingham this season, had previously held encouraging talks with Pompey.

And Appleton spoke of his frustration as he waits to enter the transfer window.

He said: ‘Me not bringing any players in at the minute has got nothing to do with the football club.

‘We are controlled by the Football League and they are very cautious about the business we do because of the position we are in.

‘I can sort of understand it from their point of view because if we are looking to do business and improve and better ourselves, all the other teams in the Championship will be asking questions of how.

‘On the other hand, we would still like to be competitive and I am not quite sure we are able to be that.

‘There are players who have gone to other clubs I wouldn’t have minded myself.

‘One of them was Chris (Wood). I spoke to the football club, his agent and Chris but wasn’t in a position to do it and now must move on very quickly.

‘I had him as a 14/15 year old at West Brom and worked in the youth ranks and reserve team with him. I know him very well and know his qualities.

‘I am sure he would have been more than happy to come down here and work with me.

‘He has gone to Bristol City, which is a shame because they are one of our competitors at the minute.

‘He will probably go there and do well – but I hope he doesn’t!

‘Derek (McInnes) has made a shrewd signing. I hope it’s one that doesn’t come back to bite us on the bum.

‘It’s a signing I would have loved an opportunity to take but I’m not in a position to do it.

‘That’s life. I have missed out on a few so far.

‘I can’t bring in any players and until I am told differently, there will be no business going on here.’

The Football League have refused to discuss whether a transfer embargo has been applied to Pompey, although the club deny one is in place.

Nonetheless, Appleton believes his only way around the problem will be to let one of his squad leave first.

He added: ‘The impression I get is if one goes out, one can come in. So if we did get rid of a player or someone came in with an offer we couldn’t refuse then we would be able to do something.

‘I would also imagine that if we loaned a player out then surely we would be able to replace them with someone.

‘It would be ridiculous if we couldn’t. It makes no sense. We’ve got the smallest squad in the Football League anyway.

‘It’s disappointing, is a bit frustrating and makes life harder but I have faced big challenges in the past – although this is the biggest one.’