Appy: New formation can cause Championship havoc

Michael Appleton feels 4-4-1-1 is the way to go for Pompey
Michael Appleton feels 4-4-1-1 is the way to go for Pompey

Michael Appleton believes Pompey can damage Championship rivals with their all-new system.

The Blues boss feels using the 4-4-1-1 formation he employed against Leicester can cause big problems for opponents.

David Norris assumed a key role on Saturday, playing in a more advanced position behind striker Dave Kitson.

Norris delivered a dangerous performance in the formation, scoring Pompey’s goal and going within inches of grabbing a second as he rocked the upright moments after Leicester had equalised.

Appleton shuffled his pack for the Foxes clash after Luke Varney was ruled out because of a hamstring injury.

And the 35-year-old insists the new shape is an effective way of opening up sides and creating chances.

It’s an approach he saw employed successfully in his time at West Brom.

Appleton has backed it to be a similar story – particularly at Fratton Park – now he’s at Pompey.

He said: ‘I think it’s a fantastic way of playing. It’s a style of play I’ve been used to for the past 10 years with West Brom.

‘It’s nice on the eye and, not only that, it creates a lot of chances and give players a chance to express themselves.

‘Luke’s injury affected things a little bit (against Leicester), but it’s a style of play we can do and can use.

‘I think we saw in the second-half on Saturday it’s very difficult to deal with at times.

‘We played a Leicester side at the weekend who are full of experience and full of quality players.

‘I’d like to think that when a lot of sides come down here, we will play that way and create a lot of chances.’

Appleton released Norris from the shackles of having to worry about defensive duties against Leicester.

He feels affording the former Ipswich man more freedom allowed him to become a greater threat to the opposition.

Appleton sees Norris as the ideal man to play in the attacking hole of the players he currently has at his disposal.

He said: ‘I asked David to play a slightly different role, and he did well.

‘Looking at David in the short time I’ve been here, I can see he’s an attacking midfield player.

‘His responsibilities to defend as a midfielder are not as strong as other players like Hayden Mullins.

‘He’s ideal for playing that role. The timing of whether to support the likes of Kits (Kitson) from behind the ball or get beyond him is important. And David is able to do that.’