Appleton urges out-of-contract trio to be patient

WAITING GAME Ricardo Rocha, Jamie Ashdown and Benjani will have to wait to see what their futures hold
WAITING GAME Ricardo Rocha, Jamie Ashdown and Benjani will have to wait to see what their futures hold

Michael Appleton has warned his out-of-contract players they must be patient over their Pompey futures.

The current deals of Jamie Ashdown, Ricardo Rocha and Benjani expire this summer.

In addition, Kelvin Etuhu is currently on month-to-month terms.

Benjani is highly unlikely to win a new contract, having fallen out of the first-team picture under Appleton.

However, Ashdown and Rocha are key members of the side at present.

Appleton believes decisions over their futures will hinge on the ownership of the club and what division the Blues will find themselves in next season.

And with those situations still not resolved, the players could find themselves having to wait.

He said: ‘I have had a brief conversation with them – saying they are going to have to bare with me and be patient.

‘For one, we don’t know what division we are going to be in. And two, we haven’t got an owner so I can’t turn around and offer them contracts just yet.

‘There are too many scenarios at the minute.

‘I just have to get into the middle of it and work outwards.

‘Then I need to get the call right about who I definitely know is going to be here next year.

‘If there are players who do get released or do move on to other clubs then at least we know what our core is.

‘We know what the outer plan is in terms of players coming in and to see if we can do something in between.’

Meanwhile, Appleton is unable to pinpoint when Aaron Mokoena will return to fitness.

The defender has been sidelined for the past four matches with an ankle problem.

He added: ‘I think Aaron is a little bit frustrated.

‘There has not been a massive improvement with it, his ankle is still sore.

‘We will just have to wait and see what happens with him.’