Appleton closing in on triallist keeper

Michael Appleton has not ruled out a loan return for Stephen Henderson

Michael Appleton has not ruled out a loan return for Stephen Henderson

The Fratton Park pitch. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton is pinning his hopes on recruiting a triallist goalkeeper in time for the start of pre-season training.

As it stands, Pompey will not have a stopper when the squad return to their Eastleigh base on Monday.

Of the 10 seniors and nine first-year professionals scheduled to take part in the first training session of the summer, not a single one is a keeper.

That’s after Jamie Ashdown, Stephen Henderson, Matt Gledhill and Daniel Nizic all departed Fratton Park during the close season.

Appleton has agreed to bring a young Premier League keeper on loan for the campaign – although that has been blocked by the Football League.

In addition, Derjan Curanovic is booked in for a trial but is not expected to arrive until the pre-season tour to Spain.

It leaves Pompey without a keeper for the first week – and the opening friendly against the Hawks on Saturday, July 14.

But Appleton is hopeful of picking up a free agent to come to the Blues on trial for Monday.

He said: ‘As far as I am aware, we have got the loan keeper from a Premier League club.

‘That is tied up and we have agreed it. It is just a case of when we get the green light to do something so he won’t be here until that has been sorted.

‘Curanovic has done okay for Slovenia and, at the end of the day, has come from an agent who is aware of our goalkeeping situation at the moment.

‘He is highly-rated and has been to Middlesbrough for a trial before. I’ve spoken to them and they tell me he did okay.

‘We’ll have a look, it’s not going to cost us anything. If he does not impress he will go back to where he came from and we won’t have lost anything.

‘But it’s looking like he will be arriving for the training camp in Spain.

‘Obviously we need a keeper, though, and I think there might be a young one I can get in by Monday. He is a free agent who would be a triallist.

‘At this moment it is not finalised and it’s something I’m looking to tie up today. I want to make sure he is on board before anything else.

‘I’ve had so many let-downs I would hate for it to happen again. It has been another tough week and we’re back in training on Monday.’

The identity of the Premier League goalkeeping loan target has prompted much speculation ever since Appleton’s plans were revealed by The News.

The names of former favourite Stephen Henderson and West Brom’s Luke Daniels have consistently been thrown up, yet are wide of the mark.

Instead, Appleton has another highly-regarded young keeper lined-up – although he would not rule out either of the other two should that move fall through.

Appleton added: ‘We think we have a keeper tied up but if for whatever reason that did not happen, Stephen (Henderson) is certainly someone to consider.

‘Who knows what his availability would be? I will certainly weigh up the situation.

‘He is probably trying to figure out what is going to happen at West Ham and I have not had a conversation with his club. But if that came about I would certainly not rule it out.

‘Mind you, you don’t want to have two goalkeepers on loan, it would be a bit silly.

‘As for Luke (Daniels), he will get mentioned because I have worked with him before. I had him at West Brom so am aware of him and know what he can do.

‘If I feel I need to get him in I will do, he’s a top keeper. But he’s not the one I have lined up.’

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