Appy: Things can only get better

Michael Appleton takes a training session today on part of the Fratton Park pitch which was deemed playable Picture: Allan Hutchings
Michael Appleton takes a training session today on part of the Fratton Park pitch which was deemed playable Picture: Allan Hutchings
Curtis Main in action for Pompey against Reading under-23s in last season's Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler  PompReading PPP-160510-131550001

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Michael Appleton refuses to stop believing Pompey’s fortunes will soon change following their latest blow.

The Blues were robbed of crucial Fratton Park revenue after today’s clash with Hull was called off because of a frozen pitch.

Referee Darren Sheldrake made the decision at 9.45am this morning following a second pitch inspection.

The pitch had been underneath frost covers for several days, but freezing overnight conditions made parts of the surface unplayable – particularly areas near the South Stand.

Pompey’s first home game in three weeks, it prevented the cash-strapped club receiving a precious financial boost, especially after the Park the Park campaign, where it was hoped Blues fans would turn out in large numbers.

It represents another setback at the end of a week which has seen players and staff not given January’s wages.

Appleton remains defiant, however.

And he has every hope that some day matters will take a turn for the good.

He said: ‘I just keep thinking somewhere along the line someone is going to deliver some really good news.

‘There is a general belief that if I am given the tools I would be able to do the job I set out when I first walked through the door.

‘I’m not one for giving up. That was me as a player and is me as a person.

‘I don’t see the reasons for dressing things up, it’s just not my style and I think the players realise that as well.

‘I will not start to make excuses now, everyone realises the position we are in and how hard the job is at the minute.

‘The obstacles put in front of us over the past two or three months have been absolutely scary at times.

‘But I just keep telling everyone as a group – the staff, players and club – that if we can get through and deal with everything we have dealt with, imagine how good it can be when we’ve got the tools to just do our job properly.

‘That is what I keep telling the staff and the players. I will always have that hope.’

A new date for today’s scrapped fixture has yet to be finalised.

Tickets already bought will be valid for the rearranged fixture, but fans can claim a refund.

As disappointing as the match being called off was, Appleton backed referee Sheldrake’s decision.

And he admitted there was no way the game could have gone ahead as planned following overnight temperatures reaching minus-10 degrees centigrade.

Appleton, who this afternoon took a training session on part of the Fratton Park pitch which was deemed playable, added: ‘It’s a bit of a disappointment but, obviously, there is nothing we can do with what happens with the weather.

‘We tried ever so hard in terms of putting the sheets on in the last week.

‘I think we doubled and tripled the covers on the near side (South Stand) because we knew it’s in the shade most of the time.

‘The ground staff have worked ever so hard night and day to get the game on, but obviously the drop in temperatures killed it in the end.

‘You couldn’t get a fork in that near side, especially first thing in the morning and the decision has to be made.

‘Even at 2pm it was still rock hard and would have been too dangerous to play.

‘It’s a shame because the lads are in good spirits and were looking forward to the game.

‘And, hopefully, being close to a full house, it would have been a good atmosphere.’