Harley: Appy must stay

Jon Harley wrestles Mathias Pogba off the ball as Popmpey boss Michael Appleton looks on
Jon Harley wrestles Mathias Pogba off the ball as Popmpey boss Michael Appleton looks on

Jon Harley today led the calls for Michael Appleton to stay put at Pompey.

Harley believes the Blues are now coming together as a League One force under the manager’s guidance after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Crewe.

Appleton’s future is in the spotlight in the wake of him being linked with the vacant posts at Burnley and Bolton.

The former West Brom coach is among the favourites with the bookies for both positions.

The 36-year-old stated he has not been contacted by either club over a move to the north west.

But Harley knows the job he has done in tough circumstances at Fratton Park has not gone unnoticed in the game.

And the former Chelsea man is desperate to see Appleton stay in the wake of recent progress being made by Pompey.

‘When you have a good young manager they will get linked with jobs,’ said Harley.

‘We all want him to stay but no-one knows what’s going on.

‘It’s inevitable if a manager is successful they will be linked with jobs. Since Michael’s been here he’s had a lot on his plate.

‘People know in football, and those who have worked with him know what a good manager and person he is.

‘It’s not surprising to me or the lads here he’s linked with jobs.

‘He’s a good manager who is going to go on to big things.

‘But we all hope he achieves that here.

‘It’s him that’s kept the club going.

‘He’s a great manager but he has had a lot to deal with.

‘He’s put together a good squad of players – and I don’t know how he’s done it.

‘When you get a successful manager they will get linked with these jobs.

‘We want him to stay, but the more successful we are the more people will look.

‘We want him to stay and be successful here.’

Saturday’s home win made it four league games unbeaten for Pompey as they lifted themselves up to 12th in the league table.

Importantly, Appleton’s side also collected just their second clean sheet of the campaign.

Harley feels the result was a reaction to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit to Wycombe last week.

And the 33-year-old feels real strides are now being made by the team.

He said: ‘We were looking for a reaction from Tuesday – and we got it.

‘We’re on a good run in the league and there was a lot of positives to take from the game.

‘We really wanted to get in their faces and press them, and we got the reward for that in the first few minutes.

‘Our work-rate was a big thing and our centre-forwards were a big thing in that. They started us off.

‘It was a good all-round display.

‘There’s a lot of positives and we were looking to get back on track.

‘But now we can look at it from the aspect we’re unbeaten in four games in the league.

‘The MK Dons game was dominant and there were other games, too.

‘We are getting a lot more organised and are able to put sides under pressure.’