Appy ends interest in defender

Agonit Sallaj. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122542-781)
Agonit Sallaj. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122542-781)
Dejan Stefanovic salutes the Fratton faithful during his visit to Pompey on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton has ended his interest in Agonit Sallaj – for the time being.

The 20-year-old Algerian defender played two games for Pompey – pre-season friendly wins over Aldershot Town and Bolton Wanderers – and turned in solid displays in both fixtures.

But the Blues boss has indicated he might be a player worth looking at in the future, rather than a potential new signing who could make an immediate impact in League One.

And Appleton appears to believe he has better options at his disposal, if and when he finally gets the green light to start signing players.

Appleton explained: ‘Sallaj has gone for the time being and has gone back home.

‘It was already arranged he was only going to be here with us for a few days, anyway.

‘If we need to revisit it in the future, we will do.

‘At the minute, I don’t think it’s one we will be pursuing.

‘He is a young player, so if we were ever in a position where we did have a full-strength first-team squad and a development squad, we might look into bringing him back again.

‘But Avo is only 20. He has come from Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland and has done okay.

‘He’s a typical aggressive centre-half.

‘He just wants to win everything all the time, when sometimes you have to be a bit more patient.

‘He’s got a bit to learn but I think he’s a decent young player.’

Appleton has a host of triallists all attempting to win a contract at the club.

And the former West Brom assistant manager admits he is frustrated as he waits for the opportunity to start building a squad with the new season just a few days away.

The Pompey boss said: ‘We’ve got the league cup game on Wednesday and the league starts next Saturday.

‘We need to do some business pretty quickly and get some players in.’