Appleton to overhaul Pompey infrastructure

113462_LEEDS_PFC_01/10/11''Joel Ward.''Leeds United V Portsmouth FC from Elland Road, Leeds. . ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113462-741)
113462_LEEDS_PFC_01/10/11''Joel Ward.''Leeds United V Portsmouth FC from Elland Road, Leeds. . ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113462-741)
Kenny Jackett

A different kind of optimism at dawn of new Pompey season

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Michael Appleton has pledged to transform Pompey’s infrastructure – starting with honing stars for the future.

The Blues’ new manager has been given the green light from the Fratton Park hierarchy to overhaul the club.

As part of his remit, Appleton will focus on the Academy, recruitment and training facilities.

Having worked as assistant academy manager and reserve team coach during his time at West Brom, the 35-year-old is regarded as having the credentials to head Pompey changes.

And after officially taking the reins yesterday, he is relishing the opportunity at putting his own stamp on the club.

He said: ‘There is a plan in place in terms of building an infrastructure at the football club.

‘Obviously, at the minute we don’t own our training ground but I think they (the owners) would like to get themselves into a position where they own their own training ground.

‘They also want to build their own academy and start producing players who can play in the first team.

‘There are a couple of lads who have come through the system and doing well at the minute, such as Joel (Ward).

‘But if you can start a conveyor belt of young talent to get themselves into the first team, that is a fantastic thing.

‘In addition, it’s about improving things like the structure of the recruitment set-up.

‘That can really help build and stabilise a football club because what you tend to do is bring players in for next to nothing, help them be successful for the football club, help the football club be successful for them.

‘Then if you have to sell them, do it for ridiculous amounts of money.

‘It’s going to be a work in progress for myself, David (Lampitt) and the owners in the next few years.

‘The experience I have had at West Brom has given me a little bit of background of what they are after.

‘I think, potentially, that is one of the reasons why they wanted to buy the football club and one of the reasons why I felt this was the right club for me.

‘It’s an opportunity to build something.’

Andy Awford has already begun to make encouraging progress with the Academy.

On Saturday, they triumphed 1-0 at Southampton, having also won at Manchester United earlier in the season.

He is also recruiting for the future, with Hampton & Richmond striker Dan Thompson currently training with the Academy.

The 17-year-old was believed to be interesting a host of Premier League clubs but he has been invited in for a short spell with the Blues.

Now Appleton wants to maintain that progress.

He added: ‘I’ve got experience in the Academy side of it, from a recruitment point of view and being part of the structure that was built over at West Brom.

‘I remember the first day of me going into West Brom as a player, we used to get changed at the stadium, get back into our cars and go around looking for somewhere to train.

‘That was 10 years ago – we never had a training ground.

‘Now they have a fantastic training ground.

‘I have been part of everything that has happened.

‘And the plan and ideas the owners and David have got, I have actually been part of before – and been successful in doing that.’