Appy to help Pompey deadlock

Michael Appleton has helped moved Luke Varney on. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121503-044)
Michael Appleton has helped moved Luke Varney on. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121503-044)
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton has revealed he has personally intervened in a bid to persuade his senior players to leave Pompey.

Despite having spent the past 10 days on the Blues’ Spanish training camp, the manager has called several of the players involved in the deadlocks of compromise agreements.

Luke Varney, Liam Lawrence, Greg Halford and David Norris have this week all spoken on the phone to Appleton while their futures are thrashed out between agents and administrator Trevor Birch.

Pompey’s boss also plans to talk to Tal Ben Ham, Kanu and Dave Kitson once the squad returns from Spain later today.

He has stepped in as he seeks to bring an end to the stand-offs which could see the club liquidated on August 10.

And Appleton believes his pleas to those players who remain can make an important breakthrough.

He said: ‘I have spoken to numerous players over the last few days regarding everything that is going on.

‘There is a bit of slow progress, so hopefully come the end of the week there might be a bit more light at the end of the tunnel in terms of people leaving.

‘I have been worried about the situation and it is something I felt I had to do.

‘Obviously, a lot of the press we are getting back home is negative at the minute but there is also a sense of realism in terms of things need to be done quickly.

‘I wanted to reassure these players and keep them as up-to-date as much as I possibly can.

‘Possibly, a different voice will help. That is why I tried to intervene a little bit and help the situation.

‘It seemed to work because one is gone (Varney), one looks like he will go (Norris) and I think another is just around the corner (Erik Huseklepp).

‘I have spoken to a few of them.

‘Some players might want to chat, some might not. Some might want to be contacted, some might not.

‘If I think I can help them and they think I can help them I am willing to.

‘These are difficult times, and some might say desperate times, but I think it is almost a time to keep your cool as well.

‘I seem to be doing that reasonably well at the minute and have been for the last nine months, so I am not going to drop my guard just yet.’

Varney signed for Leeds earlier this week following talks with Appleton.

The Blues boss is hoping others will follow suit following his intervention as the clock ticks down on potential liquidation.

Although, Appleton admits he is unsure what impact he can have on the Kanu, Kitson and Ben Haim situations.

He added: ‘With Luke, it was a different voice.

‘The whole scenario had got a little bit stuck, going in one direction and it needed another opinion on some things. It seemed to move and unlock a few doors.

‘I have not yet spoken to Kanu, Kitson and Ben Haim.

‘I am sure I will have conversations when I get back. They are in deep, deep negotiations from what I am being told.

‘Am I going to have as much effect on what I say to those players? Who knows!

‘At the end of the day, if a player wants to come to a solution I am sure there always will be a solution. If they don’t, I am not sure what I can do.’