Appy targets ‘relegation mini-league’ survival

120536-170_POMPEY_IPSWICH_SR_14/2/12'Pompey vs Ipswich at Fratton Park.''Michael Appleton slautes the Fratton End.''Picture:Steve Reid (120536-170)

120536-170_POMPEY_IPSWICH_SR_14/2/12'Pompey vs Ipswich at Fratton Park.''Michael Appleton slautes the Fratton End.''Picture:Steve Reid (120536-170)

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Michael Appleton saw administration plunge Pompey into a grim fight for survival and insisted: We know what we need to do.

The Blues boss has targeted survival in a ‘relegation mini-league’ over the final 16 games of the season.

Appleton is hoping yesterday’s news at the High Court will mark the turning point for his club’s struggles.

Administration meant the club were hit with a mandatory 10-point deduction – but were spared any further punishment by the Football League.

The penalty leaves the Blues out of the bottom three on goal difference ahead of this afternoon’s matches.

Appleton, who takes his side to Barnsley today, believes his team are now in a shoot-out with the current bottom five.

And he is focusing solely on finishing in the top three of that league.

Appleton said: ‘We have put a plan in place.

‘We know how we are going to deal with it, how we attack and how we are going to come out of the other end.

‘We need to win a certain amount of games against certain teams.

‘We’re going into a mini-league now with six teams. The bottom five, plus us, would be the teams.

‘In eight games there could be other teams involved, but, as it stands at the minute, there’s a bit of a gap between Peterborough and Millwall.

‘From Millwall down, there’s five teams and then us.

‘We’re aware we need to finish in the top three of that league. We don’t need to look at any other scenario. We don’t need to look at the league any more.

‘They know how many games they need to win. We’ll keep that within the dressing room – but we’ve got a target.

‘We know what that target is to stay in this division.’

Pompey head into today’s clash at Oakwell knowing their immediate future is secure after entering administration.

That will free up the club’s bank account to begin paying Pompey’s staff once more.

Appleton has had to battle incessant problems since he arrived in the manager’s hot seat in November.

He believes the red letter day represents a landmark for him and his club.

Appleton said: ‘You sometimes have to look at scenarios and think things are going to get better before they get worse.

‘We’re going into administration where we have lost 10 points.

‘I’d like to think taking 10 points is enough punishment.

‘Hopefully, that’s the end point. Hopefully, this is the low ebb and we can start looking to the future.

‘What that would do is would allow us 16 games this season.

‘We’re in a relegation battle, but I’m hoping we’re turning the corner.

‘It will make it doubly difficult but there has to be a turning point somewhere.

‘If it means us getting hit with a 10-point loss and then the club hopefully being placed into sensible hands in the future, between now and the end of end of the season, it’s worth it.

‘Hopefully, in years to come there will be someone sitting here, whether it’s me or not, talking about the club having a bright future.

‘Hopefully, we’ll be looking forward to better times.’

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