New year, same old problems for Pompey

114115-680_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-680
114115-680_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-680
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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The world keeps on turning but down at Fratton Park things remain very much the same.

As if we needed reminding, there has been much to underline that truth in recent weeks.

Yes, as we enter 2012 we can rest assured the same old mix of own goals, gaffes and uncertainty are reigning down at PO4.

We dared to hope for a new dawn last year but any misguided conviction that was the case lasted no more than a couple of months.

The problems off the pitch and shambolic treatment of the family of Len Phillips following his death tells us it’s very much business as usual.

Michael Appleton is now realising that fact, six weeks into choosing Pompey as his first managerial port of call.

Twelve months on and the first signs of a January transfer window Groundhog Day are emerging.

Four days into the new year and Appleton still can’t make any movement for players.

A mysterious situation is developing where the Blues manager is still waiting to be told what his options are.

The Football League are staying quiet on the subject, as is chief executive David Lampitt.

‘There’s ongoing talks with the Football League about what we can and can’t do,’ said Appleton with diplomatic restraint.

‘I’d like to think I will get the opportunity to do my job rather than have my hands tied behind my back.’

Don’t get your hopes up just yet Appy.

This all has a remarkably eerie feel about it, of course.

Rewind to this time last year and a exactly the same situation was being played out.

Steve Cotterill was desperately trying to keep the wheels on Pompey’s season as injuries ravaged his options.

He spent the month with plans in place before ending up empty-handed.

Now Appleton is praying he doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Everyone who was available for selection was included in the squad for Monday’s meeting with Watford.

Given the situation the club is facing up to, Appleton is realistic about how much movement he is able to make.

A free transfer here, a loan there and shifting some of the bigger money earners to free up some space in the budget is the kind of work he’s looking to do.

Yet, as it stands, the shutters are down on the sales and the Pompey boss is losing out on the bargains.

West Brom are happy for Joe Mattock to renew his loan which has now come to an end and the player wants to return – but he has now left Fratton Park.

Appleton is looking to shift players like Tal Ben Haim off the wage bill to give himself a modicum of space to operate. Why can’t he do that?

Ah, because it’s Pompey. And some things never change.