Appleton backs City duo to excite
Pompey boss Michael Appleton is convinced his double Manchester City swoop will excite the Fratton faithful.
The Blues captured Luca Scapuzzi and Karim Rekik on month-long deals as the emergency loan window shut yesterday.
Just as encouraging, no more of Michael Appleton’s star players left Fratton Park.
Meanwhile, Scott Allan’s loan from West Bromwich Albion was extended by another 28 days.
It all added up to a positive day for Blues fans as Pompey head into the final nine matches seeking to remain in the Championship.
The Manchester City pair come highly regarded and go straight in the reckoning for tomorrow’s crucial clash with Coventry.
Scapuzzi, a 20-year-old forward who can also play out wide, scored twice in 17 matches during a loan spell with Oldham earlier in the season.
Etihad Stadium team-mate Rekik is a left-sided defender who skippers Holland’s under-17 side.
And Appleton is convinced their signings can thrill the Fratton faithful.
He said: ‘These are two lads I believe can excite the fans.
‘They are talented young footballers who are going to be playing without fear and will be involved in the run-in.
‘There is no pressure on them and they will provide us with fresh legs and fresh impetus.
‘We have three other lads – in Chris Maguire, George Thorne and Scott Allan – who have followed the same sort of route and come in and done ever so well.
‘If Luca and Karim can make anywhere near the same impact then I am sure the fans will be excited by it.
‘Karim is an athlete, very comfortable in possession of the ball and can play on the left-hand side of defence or at left-back.
‘He’s an all-round footballer. Manchester City are excited about him for the future and see him as potentially a big player for them.
‘Luca did quite well at Oldham and can play on the left, the right or up front.
‘He is a talent and another good addition to the squad who has that versatility.
‘The lad has got decent pace but is also comfortable on the ball, likes getting at people and is quite direct.
‘They’ll get their chance and I’m sure will show their quality to the supporters.’
Scapuzzi has featured twice for Roberto Mancini’s side in the Carling Cup this season.
In addition, the Italian spent two-and-a-half months on loan at League One outfit Oldham.
Rekik moved to City in the summer after progressing through the youth system at Feyenoord.
The defender was an integral part of the Dutch side which won the UEFA European under-17 Championship last May.
Rekik has made two appearances for Manchester City this season – both coming as a substitute in the Carling Cup.