Appy had no qualms starting Pompey boo-boy

Tal Ben Haim in action at Aldershot last night     Picture: Allan Hutchings
Tal Ben Haim in action at Aldershot last night Picture: Allan Hutchings

Michael Appleton revealed he had no worries about pitching Tal Ben Haim in for a red-hot reception at Aldershot last night.

The Israeli defender was given an uncomfortable time by many of the 1,053 visiting supporters throughout the Blues’ 1-0 win.

The fans’ anger reflected feelings towards Ben Haim’s failure to come to a compromise agreement to leave the club this summer.

If Pompey cannot get the 30-year-old – who is on around £35,000 per week – off their wage bill before August 10, administrator Trevor Birch insists the club will be liquidated.

But Appleton was adamant he had to play Ben Haim for footballing reasons last night.

The Pompey manager said: ‘It was not really a difficult decision to play Tal, to be honest.

‘I’ve come back from Spain and on Monday we talked about doing the right thing and being professional.

‘I asked him to make sure when he is in and around the building he is respectful to the staff and how we do things.

‘He was more than happy to do that.

‘At the end of the day he is a good player, regardless of everything else that is going on, and I had to judge whether the reaction of the majority of the fans would distract from what’s going on and what we are trying to do.

‘I understand the fans’ frustration 100 per cent and am sure over the next eight days we will come to some kind of solution to it all.

‘From what I am hearing we are not a million miles away in terms of a compromise.’

Liam Lawrence also played for the entire match, although Dave Kitson sat out with an ankle knock picked up in training earlier in the day.