Appy in recruitment chase ahead of opener

Ashley Harris warms up with his long-awaited new team-mates Mustapha Dumbuya, Conor Clifford, who will complete his loan move today, and Kieran Djilali.  Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 122704-1259)
Ashley Harris warms up with his long-awaited new team-mates Mustapha Dumbuya, Conor Clifford, who will complete his loan move today, and Kieran Djilali. Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 122704-1259)
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Michael Appleton hopes to sign up to 17 players ahead of Pompey’s League One curtain-raiser tomorrow.

The Blues boss has been tasked with assembling a squad at breakneck speed after being given the green light to recruit.

Sheffield United’s goalscoring midfielder Lee Williamson is a new face at the club ahead of the Bournemouth clash.

He is expected to be joined by Reading goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen for the Fratton Park game, with a deal resurrected to land the Danish under-21 international on loan.

Appleton has moved quickly to sign nine players – who have been with the club throughout pre-season – on month-long deals.

Kieran Djilali, Mustapha Dumbuya, Jon Harley, Brian Howard, Izale McLeod, Jack Compton, Luke Rodgers and Liam Walker have all arrived, subject to international clearance and Football League and FA approval.

Meanwhile Simon Eastwood has converted his non-contract deal to a month-long stay.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Clifford is also expected to seal his loan move today.

But a similar switch for Celtic defender Josh Thompson in the balance.

Players were yesterday queueing up to ink deals at the training ground before today’s noon deadline to be available to face the Cherries.

And Appleton expects still more options for the game, with Reading’s teenage winger Jordan Obita also linked.

‘Realistically, I’d hope to sign 12 to 14 players but I’m trying to sign 16 or 17,’ he said.

‘It’s pretty much [every triallist at the club]. The majority of the people around the place have been offered short-term deals.

‘There are some pretty impressive names and more to add. There’s a few coming in and there could be a couple more surprises today. I’m expecting three or four more.

‘We have to get in a good place and see if we can sign Josh Thompson as a loan.

‘The big one – and one I’m delighted with – is Mikkel Andersen. We’ve found a way to get Mikkel in.

‘There was a fear we couldn’t do it but Brian McDermott has been different class with me.

‘And there could be another one to come out of Reading in the next 24 hours.

‘I just find it very humbling they are prepared to come and play for me and play for Portsmouth.’

A number of triallists joined the squad yesterday including former Stoke midfielder Tom Soares and ex-West Ham keeper Peter Kurucz.

Appleton said: ‘We’ve had some triallists come in. Tom Soares is here on trial and we have a keeper from West Ham.

‘There are a few French boys who have come in as well that we can have a look at.

‘We’re not going to make a judgement on them after one training session, though.’