Appy: Hands off our players

Pompey keeper Luke McGee endured a difficult afternoon at Ewood Park Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton has warned Pompey’s Championship rivals to forget signing his players on the cheap.

The Blues boss yesterday got the green light to complete a new loan deal for Joe Mattock – which will keep the West Brom left-back at Pompey for the rest of the campaign.

He also confirmed that non-league striker Dan Thompson is set to sign a contract.

But Appleton revealed he has also fended off enquiries into members of his squad.

While he wouldn’t say who had been the subject of approaches, he insists he had no interest in seeing his threadbare squad weakened.

Instead, Appleton remains hopeful he can add a couple of new faces to his ranks after Sunday’s clash at Chelsea.

Appleton said: ‘We’ve had a couple of enquiries for a couple of our players.

‘It’s not interest from the Premier League that I’m aware of.

‘It was a couple of enquiries from the Championship but nothing beyond a conversation.

‘Enquiries are enquiries but until people are prepared to make an offer for players, then obviously you can’t sit down, take a look at that offer and say “yes please” or “no thanks”.

‘From our point of view, it was only a question of would he be available? No. Okay, move on.

‘The thought of having to get rid of players with the size of our squad as it is doesn’t really interest me unless it is an absolutely ridiculous offer.

‘For me to start getting rid of players now would not be the brightest idea.

‘Clubs could come back with an offer and, if that’s the case, then you have to think about it.

‘But in all honesty, I think we need to add to the squad rather than deplete it.’

Appleton got the go-ahead from West Brom, Blues chief executive David Lampitt and the Football League to complete the Mattock deal yesterday morning.

The left-back is expected to re-sign for the rest of the season early next week.

Meanwhile, Thompson will not command a fee as he is a non-contract player at Blue Square Bet South side Hampton & Richmond.

The 17-year-old will join Andy Awford’s Academy ranks, rather than be added to the first-team squad.

But Pompey’s other transfer window plans are still very much up in the air as Appleton awaits clarification over what he is allowed to do.

He said: ‘I am able to sign Joe Mattock until the end of the season, which is pleasing.

‘If he’s not playing any part of West Brom’s game against Cardiff tomorrow then we’ll have him back in the building on Monday.

‘They’ve got a few injury problems, so I would imagine some of the boys they have loaned out recently – such as Joe and George Thorne – will play a big part in that game.

‘The ideal scenario is he will be back to feature for us in the West Ham game.

‘But beyond that I’m still under instruction in terms of what I can and can’t do.

‘Hopefully, next week, I may be able to bring a couple of new faces in.

‘I can’t guarantee it but I’ve got plenty of people in mind who I would love to bring to the club.’