Triallists to learn their Pompey fates

Brian Howard, left, is hoping his performances against Gibraltar and Brighton will have earned him a deal at Fratton Park  Picture: Toby Barton
Brian Howard, left, is hoping his performances against Gibraltar and Brighton will have earned him a deal at Fratton Park Picture: Toby Barton

Pompey boss praise for riding out defensive storm

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Michael Appleton will clarify the Pompey future of his triallists by the end of the weekend.

The Blues boss has run the rule over no fewer than 12 newcomers during the club’s training camp in Benahavis, Spain.

Gibraltar keeper Jordan Perez and French midfielder Julien Lopez have already been told they will not be kept on.

Meanwhile, Liam Walker has been invited back to Fratton Park for a further two-week trial, consisting of two friendlies against Aldershot and AFC Wimbledon.

Although unable to sign players at present, Appleton has already lined-up Izale McLeod, Mustapha Dumbuya, Simon Gillett and Brian Howard for contracts.

Other triallists who have spent the past 10 days in Spain bidding to secure deals for this season are Simon Eastwood, David Preece, Jon Harley, Lloyd Sam and Luke Rodgers.

Pompey’s travelling party returned to England yesterday, with the players scheduled for conditioning work tomorrow.

And Appleton wants to deliver his final decision in person to the triallists before resuming full training on Monday.

He said: ‘The trip has been an opportunity to look at six, seven maybe eight players, some of which we will be very, very keen to keep in the building.

‘Some of them we are maybe not so keen on after having a look at them.

‘I have certainly learned a lot about a few of the boys who are not under contract.

‘I don’t want to give too much away because I am going to have to make a decision, but a lot of them will know in the next two or three days.

‘If a player has not really impressed me I am not going to waste his time in getting him to come in and do more training with us.

‘I will tell him face-to-face and let him know we are not pursuing our interest anymore.

‘There have definitely been two or three that my decision, in terms of wanting them in the club, has been fully backed up by how they have handled themselves over in Spain.

‘Everyone will have an idea by the end of the weekend and the majority of people at the training ground on Monday are the ones I would like to continue and sign.’

For Appleton, he fears players will seek employment elsewhere the longer he is unable to add new recruits.

In particular, Howard initially set the club an August 1 deadline to recruit him.

But the Blues boss is hopeful he has done enough in Spain to convince them that arriving at Pompey permanently is worth waiting for.

He added: ‘It is a two-way thing. I would like to think they hopefully enjoyed the way I coach and the way I go about my business.

‘They have been reasonably positive. I can only listen to what they are saying.

‘Hopefully we can stay in contact and they can still continue to come in during the early part of next week and we have a few answers for them then.’