Numbers don’t add up for Appleton

Pompey boss Michael Appleton would like to add to his squad numbers
Pompey boss Michael Appleton would like to add to his squad numbers
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Pompey possess the smallest squad in the Football League.

That is the worrying statistic for boss Michael Appleton as he plots his team’s course for the second half of the season.

What’s more, he is unsure whether he will be able to boost those meagre numbers during the current transfer window.

As it stands, the Blues have 19 first-team players. That does not include Joe Mattock, whose emergency loan from West Brom came to an end this week.

It’s a tally which sets Pompey apart from the other 71 clubs in the Football League.

No other comes close in terms of current squad size.

Torquay have the second-lowest – and even then they have four more players than the Blues.

Martin Ling’s men number 23, with former Pompey youth team player Joe Oastler among their ranks.

The likes of Tranmere, Shrewsbury and Accrington Stanley possess squad sizes of 24 each.

As do AFC Wimbledon, who were promoted to the Football League, along with Crawley last summer.

Incidentally, Crawley – who currently top League Two – boast 29 players.

Staying in the bottom division, Morecambe’s squad size is at 25, which is the same as Pompey’s Carling Cup conquerors this season – Barnet.

In addition, Crewe and Rotherham each have 26 players, both clubs occupying mid-table in League Two.

In terms of the Championship, the Blues are comfortably undermanned compared to their rivals.

Coventry and Birmingham are the closest in terms of numbers, both possessing 27 players apiece.

That is a staggering eight more than Appleton has the luxury to select from.

Reading (44) and West Ham (41) have the biggest squads in the division.

Southampton have 36 players, while the likes of Peterborough (32), Barnsley (31) and Millwall (33) also have plenty on their books.

The Pompey manager’s only hope of boosting numbers would be a quick resolution to the potential takeover.

Even then, he is facing a race against time to beat other clubs to any loan signings he has lined up.

Regardless, the prospect of selecting from 19 players for the remainder of the season remains a concern.