Appleton seeking Pompey right-hand man

Staying together: Guy Whittingham and Michael Appleton   Picture: Robin Jones
Staying together: Guy Whittingham and Michael Appleton Picture: Robin Jones

Michael Appleton is closing in on a right-hand man to complete his Pompey backroom line-up.

And he has pledged Blues legend Guy Whittingham will remain in the coaching set-up after his reshuffle.

Appleton has been light in the first-team coaching area since Stuart Gray left Fratton Park on the eve of the final match of last season.

That was instigated by the administrators’ needs to cut costs – the former Southampton manager one of a number of club employees to be made redundant.

Since arriving at Pompey more than seven months ago, Appleton has not been able to appoint a single member of staff, such have been the financial restraints.

Now with the return of the development squad, he has been given the go-ahead to recruit.

First-team coach Whittingham, whose job was under threat before Gray moved on, will be considered to head the development set-up, although Appleton may opt to keep him by his side with the senior team.

Regardless, the Blues boss is on the look-out for an additional coach to join his ranks within the next month.

Appleton said: ‘Someone will be coming in, I’ve got the go ahead for that.

‘We have the development group being brought in for this season so we need someone to look after them, while we will no longer be having two first-team coaches.

‘The way I see it, there will be one more body who comes in to help.

‘Whether Guy is with the development squad or alongside me is up for debate at the moment. We will have to wait and see on that one.

‘But he is still going to be at the club next year, definitely. I have a lot of time for him and I want him here. It’s just about where.

‘I have four or five candidates in mind to join and all have different strengths. There is no perfect photofit of who I want to bring in, it’s something I am still looking at.

‘I’m going to keep a lot of the process close to my chest. With respect, some are working with other football clubs so I cannot get into that.

‘In terms of time frame, as long as I have got all my staff in place on July 16 – which is the start of the pre-season tour – I’ll be happy.’

Alongside Gray, several other members of Appleton’s backroom staff have lost their jobs during administration.

Meanwhile, analyst Garvan Stewart officially joins Bournemouth on July 1 after deciding to quit his job at Fratton Park.

More could decide to follow considering the on-going uncertainty – and it’s a reaction Appleton can emphasise with.

He added: ‘It’s a shame Garvan has gone but everyone is a bit twitchy at the moment, which is understandable.

‘I can understand if people want to leave and go and work in the Premier League or the Championship. I am certainly not going to hold it against people.

‘But there is enough quality people out there who can come in and fill people’s boots.’