Appleton insists pressure is on Robins

Michael Appleton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121352-021)
Michael Appleton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121352-021)

Michael Appleton believes the pressure is off Pompey as they attempt to pull off the greatest escape of them all.

The Blues last night chalked up a second successive Championship victory to boost their remote hopes of avoiding relegation.

A 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace at Fratton Park keeps alive the possibility of such an unlikely outcome.

Appleton’s men now lie five points behind Bristol City heading into the final two matches of the season.

This after they were minutes from tumbling into League One at Doncaster on Saturday.

The Robins, who drew 1-1 against West Ham last night, entertain Barnsley on Saturday.

Derek McInnes’ men know they need a win to ensure they will remain in the Championship – relegating Pompey at the same time.

But an ice-cool Appleton is adamant the heat is focused solely on the Robins rather than his Pompey side in their mission impossible.

He said: ‘All the pressure is on Bristol City as far as we are concerned. There is no pressure on us.

‘It’s for them to throw away rather than for us to achieve.

‘There is no point looking at their results.

‘We knew if we won the game last night and they won we would be down anyway. We can’t control their results.

‘The biggest job I have is trying to take the pressure off the players.

‘And if I sense the pressure is not on them, it probably makes me feel a little bit easier within myself.

‘Compared to everything that has gone on this season, this is a piece of cake.

‘We have had much tougher and more difficult times than what I have had over the last couple of weeks, in terms of dealing with the pressure that goes with the games.

‘Let’s face it, this is what I get paid to do.

‘This is the pressure side of the game I am expected to deal with.

‘I am enjoying it. We have got another game on Saturday and if we get a victory you just don’t know.’

Pompey host Derby on Saturday in their final Fratton fixture of the season.

Coventry are also embroiled in the relegation fight.

They now sit below Appleton’s troops in the table on goal difference.

The Sky Blues host relegated Doncaster Rovers at the weekend as they also attempt to chase down Bristol City.

Regardless, Appleton just wants Pompey’s fate to be decided on the last day at Nottingham Forest.

He said: ‘I would love for it to go to the last game of the season.

‘I think that would be a massive achievement for everybody associated with the club – players and staff.

‘If it ever gets to that situation, anything can happen.

‘We have seen dramas up and down the country in the last 20 years, you just never know.

‘But it’s still Bristol City’s to lose and I fully expect them to do a job on Barnsley on Saturday.

‘If they don’t, hopefully we will be knocking on the door just in case.’