Appy plans Pompey clear out as drop looms

Michael Appleton is planning big changes at Pompey, with League One looking a cert for the club  Picture: Barry Zee
Michael Appleton is planning big changes at Pompey, with League One looking a cert for the club Picture: Barry Zee

Michael Appleton has promised a Fratton clear out with Pompey teetering on the brink of relegation.

Blues fans are today facing up to their side playing in League One next season after a critical 1-0 defeat to Millwall last night.

The result leaves Pompey needing a miracle to stay up, as they sit nine points from safety with just four games left.

Saturday’s trip to Doncaster could officially seal their fate – although Appleton still isn’t giving up the fight to remain in the Championship.

But the Pompey boss admits he is planning to clear the decks at Fratton Park.

He believes last night’s loss has taught him a lot about certain people at the club.

Appleton said: ‘They’ve put so much effort in the past few weeks, and it didn’t happen for them (last night).

‘But I learnt a lot about certain people – and I mean everyone at the football club, not just the 12 who entered the field. I learnt a lot about a few of them.

‘Sometimes you can hide behind excuses.

‘We’re in a period where I don’t want to see anyone make excuses

‘These are big-pressure games for all involved.

‘You learn more about people in severe circumstances and under severe pressure.

‘That’s players, members of staff and players who are not playing and not involved.

‘A different character comes out. That’s good from my point of view.

‘Neil Warnock set a precedent the other day when he suggested there would be a big clear out at Leeds United.

‘From our point of view, somewhere along the line, there needs to be a clean slate and fresh impetus into the club.

‘That will happen and has to happen.

‘I think there will be good times ahead, but it’s not easy. We need the right people around us and the right players.’

Appleton believes Pompey now need to win all of their remaining four games to have any hope of pulling off the most unlikely of escapes.

Bristol City, who are nine points ahead of the Blues, go to promotion-chasing Birmingham on Saturday.

And if they better Pompey’s result at Doncaster, relegation will be confirmed for Appleton’s side.

The 36-year-old has called on his team to show their professional pride and fight to the death.

Appleton said: ‘We’ve got four games to play and we have to have a professional attitude.

‘It’s still mathematically possible.

‘You never know what is going to happen over the next two-and-a-half weeks.

‘Bristol City and Coventry still have some tough games to play.

‘But I’m realistic enough to know we have to win four games, and if we don’t win four games we have to look to play in a different division.’