Appleton backs Long after Pompey dismissal

Kevin Long. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122823-543)
Kevin Long. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122823-543)
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Kevin Long has been praised for his Pompey impact – despite his red card at Carlisle.

Michael Appleton has shrugged off the dismissal of the centre-back at Brunton Park.

The Blues boss was disappointed with the decision by referee Eddie Ilderton to give a second booking to Long on Saturday.

That 84th-minute dismissal ensured Long will miss the visit of Oldham to Fratton Park this weekend as he serves a one-match ban.

There is no right to appeal to the Football Association against two yellow cards – which is not the case with a straight red.

Regardless, Appleton has been delighted with the displays the 22-year-old has put in since arriving from Burnley.

And he believes there is plenty more to come from the Irishman during his south-coast stay.

He said: ‘Kevin has done great. He is a talent. I don’t want to big him up too much but he is definitely a talent. Along with Paul Connolly, they are good footballers as well as good defenders which is important considering the way we want to play.

‘You have to be able to pass the ball and they both can do that comfortably.

‘Kevin played 26 games with Accrington at the start of last season and then went to Rochdale in this division.

‘We just think as a club – without being disrespectful to Rochdale – we are bigger and hopefully have better players, so are just right for him.

‘Burnley have some decent centre halves as it is. He’s just one of those players we see as having potential and can offer him the opportunity to gain experience of first-team football.

‘His debut was played in front of nearly 20,000 fans at Fratton Park and he adjusted to it brilliantly.

‘Kevin is a big lad, which always helps. He’s a big unit and wins balls in the air.’