Appleton calls on Pompey to make most of FA Cup moment

Ricardo Rocha wipes away the tears after Pompey's FA Cup final loss to Chelsea in 2010
Ricardo Rocha wipes away the tears after Pompey's FA Cup final loss to Chelsea in 2010
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton goes in search of Chelsea’s FA Cup scalp as he told his men: Anything is possible.

Pompey travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday searching for a shock win to gain revenge for their 2010 Cup final defeat at the hands of the west London aristocrats.

The Blues will have to upset the odds and rewrite the history books to do that – with their last win at Chelsea’s home coming in 1955.

Appleton has been boosted by the return of a number of players to his squad.

That gives him a selection headache, despite the lack of numbers at his disposal.

Pompey go into the game in optimistic mood as they show upwardly-mobile form in the Championship.

They have lost just one of their past seven league matches, with confidence returning to the side.

Appleton believes the match arrives at the perfect time for his men, following a dominant victory over Watford.

The 36-year-old knows the pressure will be on Chelsea boss Andre Villa-Boas and his galaxy of stars.

Appleton called on Pompey to enjoy the occasion – and told them they have what it takes to stun the big guns if things go their way.

The Pompey boss said: ‘The great things is the boys are in good spirits after Watford and now we go into the Chelsea game.

‘We have a week off from the league and we can enjoy it.

‘If we have a good day and they have a bad day, who knows?

‘They have had a good win at Wolves and will go into the game with their tails up.

‘They will be full of confidence and, whatever team they put out, it will be a team full of internationals.

‘So we are going to enjoy the day, no matter what happens.

‘Hopefully, we can give the fans something to shout about when we are there.

‘It’s a chance not to worry about the league and then enjoy the game of football.’

Every single fit player Appleton had at his disposal was included in the squad to face Watford on Monday.

His options were stretched to their absolute limit for that game – which Pompey won 2-0 – but he has been afforded some slack for the Chelsea meeting.

Greg Halford and Joel Ward have both served their one-match suspensions after they picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season at Leicester on New Year’s Eve.

Luke Varney and Ricardo Rocha are both fighting to be fit for the clash.

Varney has been struggling with a medial knee ligament strain picked up at Burnley last month and is unlikely to play.

However, Ricardo Rocha is set to return from the calf problem which has kept him sidelined for the past two matches.

Appleton won’t risk any players, with league clashes against West Ham, Cardiff and Peterborough following this month.

But he is happy to have some tricky calls to make on team selection.

Appleton said: ‘My decisions become more difficult because I’ve got players to choose from.

‘Against Watford, we were down to the bare bones.

‘We had Joel and Greg suspended, so they will be available again.

‘Rocha’s fine and should be okay, but Varney’s injury is more frustrating.

‘It’s a little sore in the healing process so we have to be patient.

‘There’s a couple of extra bodies we’ll definitely have back, though.’