Lyttle did he know Pompey hot seat would lie in wait

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Who would have thought Des Lyttle would come to play a significant part in the direction Pompey are headed?

Lyttle, for the uninitiated, was a busy full-back who carved out a respectable, if largely unspectacular, career as a full-back at a succession of clubs through the 90s and early into the new millennium.

But it was a collision with his then team-mate Michael Appleton which set in motion a labyrinth sequence of events which now looks set to put the West Brom No2 into the Fratton Park manager’s hot seat.

It was an innocuous training ground clash between the pair which led to Appleton ripping the cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2001.

Two years and countless operations later, his career was over at the age of 27.

The decision to successfully sue the surgeon who admitted he wrongly operated on him made headlines, as Appleton won £1.5m in damages in 2007.

More significant to Fratton folk, however, is the hunger early retirement placed in the 35-year-old’s belly to make it as a manager.

A career which saw him develop alongside a host of Manchester United greats under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, still had a long way to travel.

The pain of never being able to see those years has fuelled Appleton’s drive to make it on the other side of the footballing fence, though.

And that may just be good news for Pompey’s future.

Appleton perhaps isn’t the marquee attraction many followers of the star and crescent are craving.

But box-office names aren’t always box-office managers.

The esteem Appleton is held in within the game tells of a man who is clearly going places.

Those who have had dealings with the Salford-born man speak of him in glowing terms.

Hungry, driven, determined and impressive are the buzz words which flow forward when people talk of his character.

Appleton has long been viewed as a manager-in-waiting at West Brom, a project they have invested time and money in.

That has seen him gain all his coaching badges and oversee the under-14, Academy and reserve teams at the Hawthorns before moving into the senior set-up.

All the while, Sir Alex has looked on and retained an open-door policy for one of his former players.

Appleton’s work in the midlands has seen a deep esteem and respect grow for the former midfielder.

What wasn’t clear for him was when graduation day would arrive, however.

Roy Hodgson’s contract runs until the end of the season, but there has been no indication that will mark the end of his tenure as Baggies boss.

His assistant coach is a man in a hurry, however, and he has just seen his best friend in football, Derek McInnes, get the Bristol City job.

His forward-thinking means he will be at the heart of Pompey’s future plans, with Academy development and new training ground plans featuring heavily in interviews he made a strong impression in.

This is also a figure who has been operating in recent seasons at the highest level, someone who would be able to govern respect from a dressing room laced with Premier League experience.

Pompey have clearly done their homework when it comes to the man they have turned towards to succeed Steve Cotterill.

Appleton has long flown under the footballing radar, but now feels it is his time to step out of the shadows.

Talk of his appointment has left many of the Fratton faithful underwhelmed.

So, making him the man to oversee the next stage of Pompey’s rebirth is undoubtedly a brave step to make.

It could also be a progressive move with exciting results.