Appleton undecided on contoversial duo’s pre-season roles

Tal Ben Haim could be back for pre-season training. Picture: Robin Jones

Tal Ben Haim could be back for pre-season training. Picture: Robin Jones

Loyalty set to be Cook’s Pompey policy in League One

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Michael Appleton has told Tal Ben Haim and Kanu he wants them back for pre-season training.

But the Pompey manager is still to decide what part the controversial duo will play in proceedings.

The Blues squad are scheduled to return on July 5 for two days of tests, followed by the start of full training on Monday, July 9.

All those contracted to the club will be included, irrespective of whether they are up for sale, in a bid to cut the wage bill.

Among them will be Ben Haim and Kanu, who have been criticised for their stance over compromise agreements.

Veteran striker Kanu, who has not played a match since October 2011, wants £300,000 to walk away from the final year of his contract.

Meanwhile, Ben Haim is demanding the full £2m his existing deal is worth in wages to leave Fratton Park.

The pair’s approach could yet cost the club an owner, with Portpin and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust adamant they cannot take the club on with its existing £9.5m wage bill.

Appleton made it clear last season they were not part of his plans and wanted them out.

However, they could be at Pompey for the start of a pre-season campaign which sees an opening friendly against the Hawks on July 14.

And Appleton is mulling over the extent of their involvement should they remain.

He said: ‘Tal and Kanu will be expected to return with the rest of the squad for pre-season.

‘They will come in and train just like everybody else.

‘Whether that is with the first team is a different question.

‘I will deal with the situation when I have got them in the building, it’s best that way.

‘Tal played a decent percentage of football last year and King has had problems with various injuries and a few issues.

‘It is now about trying to find a way for them to leave.

‘I have left it to administrators and agents to agree with deals for them to join other clubs or come to an agreement.

‘That is not down to me.

‘hat I am going to do with them this summer is the furthest thing on my mind at the moment.

‘Obviously it is something I may have to look at, though.

‘Hopefully it won’t even come to that and they will leave before then.’

Another date on the horizon is the pre-season tour to Spain and Gibraltar on July 16.

Appleton had been looking to the trip to gel together a host of new recruits in preparation for League One.

As it is, no-one has arrived and that will remain the case for a while yet.

He added: ‘The reason to get a pre-season tour was so the players could gel together – and I was looking at 18 new faces.

‘It has not paved out that way.

‘But there are some youngsters who could be involved in things.’

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