Appleton: We're first in line for Thorne

Michael Appleton is still confident of a Pompey return for George Thorne.

And the Blues boss insisted his team will not be gazumped by any of the club’s Championship rivals in the chase for the West Brom midfielder.

Appleton has admitted his frustration at not being able to act on bringing in more players to boost his hugely limited options this month.

Joe Mattock has renewed his loan stay from the Hawthorns until the end of the season, while youngster Dan Thompson has signed and gone straight out on loan to Hawks.

But Pompey’s wait to be taken over by new owners appears to be halting him from making any further in-roads into reworking his squad.

He remains hopeful of a Fratton return for Thorne, however.

The 19-year-old was recalled by Roy Hodgson before Christmas after impressing in four loan starts for Pompey.

Thorne has started the past two games for the Baggies, as they are hit by a host of injuries.

Appleton is keeping his fingers crossed they can clear up those problems before the end of the month, by which time Pompey’s ownership fate will be clearer.

He stated he doesn’t believe any of the Blues’ rivals will jump in front of his club in the queue for Thorne in the meantime.

Appleton said: ‘I’m not surprised George’s played for West Brom.

‘I knew before he joined us, what a player we were getting on loan.

‘The best case scenario for Portsmouth would be for West Brom to get their injuries sorted out and all their midfielders playing again.

‘George has got himself into the team on the merit of the performances he had down here, and the stuff he did previously.

‘If it comes to the end of January, and there’s an opportunity to do something, West Brom are well aware of my interest in getting him back.

‘Put it this way, I’d be very surprised if he signs for another Championship club before he joins Portsmouth.

‘I still keep in touch with him.

‘If there was an opportunity for him to get out on loan I’m sure he’d love to come back down here.’

Appleton explained he was finding it a test watching Pompey’s Championship rivals go about their transfer business this month.

He revealed he is ready to pounce for the additions he wants.

The Blues manager is just waiting for the green light to boost the smallest squad in the Football League.

Appleton said: It’s frustrating (not being able to sign players). Lots of managers will be going through the same thing, though.

‘In an ideal world I would have had four players in on January 1.

‘I’ve done the work to get the players teed up.

‘I know where I am from that position, and that’s fine.

‘I just hope I get some information, and I’m sure I will, before the end of January to bring one or two faces in to freshen things up.’