Appleton makes his mark on Blues

Milan Lalkovic in action at the Hawk. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton laid down his first marker as Pompey boss as he challenged his men: Show your hunger.

The Blues manager yesterday completed a double loan swoop for West Brom pair George Thorne and Joe Mattock ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Leicester.

New loan signing George Thorne takes part in Pompey training yesterday Picture: Sarah Standing

New loan signing George Thorne takes part in Pompey training yesterday Picture: Sarah Standing

Appleton believes the duo – who he worked with during his time at the Baggies – will add youthful energy he believes is missing from the current Pompey set-up.

Thorne is an 18-year-old attacking midfielder, while Mattock is a former England under-21 left-back.

Their arrivals on the day the emergency loan window closed was the first sign of Appleton laying down his imprint on the club, with both new arrivals pushing for starts against the Foxes.

The 35-year-old has demanded to see a driven attitude from his men – and told the Fratton faithful they will get a better idea of his football philosophy in his first home game in charge.

Appleton said: ‘Joe will give us a balance. It’s obvious we are desperate for a full-back.

‘He has played in the Championship and has also had games in the Premier League.

‘He’s an attacking full-back who likes to get forward.

‘Joe is desperate for games. He’s at a good time in his career to come and get some football.

‘You will see he is desperate to do well.

‘He’s a young one with plenty of energy and enthusiasm – that’s something I’m desperate to bring to the football club.

‘I hope the fans will have a better idea of my philosophy tomorrow.

‘I can guarantee they didn’t see it last Saturday. That was nothing to do with what my philosophy is about.

‘We’ve got a small squad and we’ve got experience but I didn’t think the balance was right.

‘The new boys will bring a youthfulness to us. We are an experienced side but sometimes you can almost have too many experienced players.

‘We have to have the balance right of hungry, young players who are desperate for success, to add to the mixture of experience lads who have had success.

‘I want to walk into the training ground every morning, look players in the whites of their eyes and see some really hungry, ambitious young men.

‘When I get to that point, I’ll be happy.

‘Until then I will be wanting to improve and better the squad.

‘I want players to feel how I feel and have a drive in them to better themselves.

‘I want a group of players who are willing to do anything – anything – to be better players and be successful.’

Appleton added: ‘George will put his foot on the ball.

‘He’ll keep moving it and bring a calming influence to midfield.

‘He shows a lot of maturity for someone so young. Hopefully, that will benefit our midfield.

‘I don’t want players if they don’t strengthen the squad.

‘I’m not going to bring in players for numbers.

‘I’ve got George and Joe because I think they will make us better. Better as a team and better as a squad.’

Meanwhile, midfielder Abdul Razak has been recalled by Manchester City, bringing his loan stay at Pompey to a close.