Appy keen to get the ball rolling

Michael Appleton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121503-076)
Michael Appleton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121503-076)

Michael Appleton is confident he can rebuild his whole Pompey squad but warned: We need to move quickly.

The Fratton boss is expecting to build a new Blues team from scratch – with all but three or four of his current squad set to leave the club before next season.

But before he can secure new recruits, Appleton knows he has to ship out the big earners.

Then he must move quickly to snap up the free agents who are looking for new clubs.

The Pompey boss explained: ‘I will be working very hard over the summer.

‘But for it to work, the players who do need to leave, need to leave as quickly as possible.

‘I will need to know at some point what the budget will be for next season.

‘I can’t just offer contracts to players willy-nilly if that is to add up.

‘For that to happen, players need to leave the club and it’s got to happen quickly.

‘You can tee up players but there will come a point where they will go on holiday or they finish at their club and they weigh up what they have got.

‘Everyone wants security, so the sooner that happens, the better.

‘It would make my life a whole lot easier and will give Portsmouth a better opportunity to be competitive next season.’

Appleton has already identified a list of targets on significantly lower wages than his existing players.

He remains confident he can put a competitive League One squad together on a fraction of the cost it took to sign the current crop.

He said: ‘I could do a squad within a couple of weeks if I had to.

‘It’s all about putting in the ground work beforehand so you are ready to go when you get the word.

‘I’m quite confident that – when I am given the green light – I could do things very, very quickly.’

Jason Pearce and Greg Halford were expected to lead the exodus.

But Pearce’s anticipated move to Leeds could now be delayed until early next week.

With Appleton’s hands still tied and the club’s ownership still uncertain, he can’t start a major rebuilding job.

He said: ‘I can’t sign a player because we are still under embargo.

‘I speak to agents and clubs every day about players, so the sooner we can put something in place where I can go out and sign players, the better.

‘You can keep teeing them up, getting them ready and keeping them on side but eventually they will get frustrated and I don’t want to lose them.’