Appy: We’ve not become a joke club

Planning ahead: Pompey manager Michael Appleton   Picture: Barry Zee
Planning ahead: Pompey manager Michael Appleton Picture: Barry Zee

Michael Appleton insisted Pompey have not become a laughing stock and vowed the club would remain a big draw to players this summer.

The Blues boss is convinced he can attract players to Fratton Park despite relegation to League One and the continuing uncertainty surrounding the club’s future.

Appleton has been clocking up the miles this week travelling around the country and meeting potential signings.

The 36-year-old admitted he was having to use his powers of persuasion to convince players to remain patient until Pompey’s future is clearer, with administrator Trevor Birch still working to find a new owner.

But Appleton was adamant the prospect of putting on a royal blue shirt next season was one which appealed to targets.

He said: ‘We’ve got an idea of budgets.

‘I’ve got some real mileage on my car, I know that much.

‘Nobody has laughed in my face yet.

‘Portsmouth is a fantastic club.

‘If we start well and are winning games of football next season, there will be big gates at Fratton Park, and that is a big selling point for any manager to use when he is trying to sign a player.

‘I’m convinced that we will get gates of 15,000 plus next season. Surely that is an attraction in itself to players?

‘My selling point is that, when I was a player, I would certainly have rather played for Portsmouth if they were up around the top of League One than with certain clubs in the bottom half of the Championship. It is obviously going to be a very, very busy period over the next couple of months.

‘The likelihood is that 16, 17 or 18 players will be leaving and the same coming through the door. It is going to be a busy time for Portsmouth.

‘We can’t sign anyone yet so I have got to work very hard and apply the personal touch.

‘I have to convince players to hang on and hang about a little bit and to give me a little bit of time to get things sorted at the club.

‘From the conversations I have had over the past couple of weeks they are (willing to do that).

‘I have pretty much spelt out to a few players already about what I think we can do with the football club next year and where I think I can take it. Hopefully, they will be patient enough to hang on until the moment they can put pen to paper on agreement deals.

‘The fans out there is one attraction.

‘The way I see it, we are going to be one of the big fish, if not the big fish in League One next year.’

Appleton was hopeful his standing in the game would also work in his favour as he goes about his recruitment drive.

He said: ‘You can only spell out the vision you have got for the football club.

‘Hopefully, people in football will give you a good word.

‘Maybe one or two of the players might have had a nice word with one or two managers and coaches about myself.

‘You use your contacts in the game to try to get as many players as you can.’