Birch wants Appleton stay

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Curtis Main celebrates his winner against Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy with Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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TREVOR BIRCH has reiterated his admiration for Michael Appleton’s Pompey work.

And the administrator is desperate for the in-demand Blues boss to remain at Fratton Park.

There has been no official approach yet from either Burnley or Bolton for Appleton’s services.

But The News understands the Clarets, in particular, are keen on recruiting him.

They see the former West Brom coach as one of the leading candidates to fill the hot seat created by Eddie Howe’s departure.

In the meantime, Appleton has shrugged off talk of leaving to carry on as normal with Pompey.

The 36-year-old is adamant he is settled on the south coast.

In addition, he has already turned down a number of jobs since arriving at Pompey in November 2011.

Birch claims there has yet to be a direct approach from any of the clubs presently linked.

Regardless, he has saluted Appleton’s impact on the Blues.

He said: ‘There has been no approach yet.

‘We would certainly not want to lose Michael, his career is with this club.

‘Of course, this is all hypothetical. I can’t really talk about the possibility of him leaving because there hasn’t been an approach made to me.

‘But I cannot praise him highly enough for what he has done already at this football club.

‘Michael has done a great job in very difficult circumstances and handled himself well.

‘Obviously, we would not want him to go – we would like him to stay here.

‘Results have also picked up recently and Michael continues to do a decent job.

‘I would definitely like him to stay.’

Appleton and his team are currently preparing to take on Shrewsbury this weekend.

In the meantime, Birch remains in negotiations over the sale of the club.

Following a Football League meeting last Thursday, PKF have opened discussions with ‘another potential bidder’.

Birch has declined to disclose their identity or the reasons behind the latest developments.

However, The News understands that party is the Trust, with talks having taken place at the start of this week.

And Birch is hopeful the club is inching nearer to getting a new owner.

He added: ‘At the minute our discussions are with the Football League, Portpin and another potential bidder.

‘We are just trying to resolve the discussions. It is not straight forward, otherwise it would have been sorted a while ago.

‘The PFA are in there as well. They have a vested interest, given their members are owed more than £8m, so they have a voice in it as well.

‘There are still discussions with all parties trying to find a solution as quickly as we possibly can.’