Appy: Backroom staff key in toughest challenge

Helping hand: Stuart Gray, left, and Guy Whittingham
Helping hand: Stuart Gray, left, and Guy Whittingham
Dion Donohue has signed a two-year deal at Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey new boy’s out to continue rise

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Michael Appleton pinpointed his backroom staff as the men who can help him handle the biggest challenge of his career.

Appleton believes Guy Whittingham, Stuart Gray and his coaching team will prove key in allowing the Pompey boss to handle the pressure he faces in the coming months.

The 36-year-old has made it clear that the Blues surviving would surpass everything else he has achieved in his footballing life.

Appleton has had to battle against incessant problems since succeeding Steve Cotterill as boss in November.

Now the club are fighting for their life following a descent into administration for the second time in two years.

But Appleton believes his staff can allow him the breathing space to get through what he faces.

The Pompey manager has undoubtedly become the club’s figurehead through the troubles.

He has consistently been the public face of the Blues despite all the uncertainty thrown in his direction.

That has seen him lauded by supporters, who have been quick to show their appreciation for the former West Brom assistant.

Appleton knows he is never likely to come across the chaos he’s been faced with at Pompey again.

He said: ‘This will be the biggest challenge of my career – end of story.

‘Even if I started managing in the top four of the Premier League, I’d never have a bigger challenge in my life.

‘If I’m a manager for 30 years, nothing will ever compare with this.

‘Some of the things which have gone on over the past couple of months would make most managers’ eyes water.

‘You just have to utilise your staff properly.

‘We have some good staff here and there will be times when I have to take a step back.

‘I have to look at the picture and what I can and can’t do.

‘There will be times when Guy and Stuart can take a step back and see where players are mentally and physically.

‘When you are in the thick of the sessions, training and coaching, you tend to miss things.

‘You want to get your point across, so you have to utilise your staff well.’