Appleton calls for Football League ‘common sense’

Pompey manager Michael Appleton salutes the fans at Oakwell
Pompey manager Michael Appleton salutes the fans at Oakwell
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Andy Awford and Kit Symons

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Pompey will today crank up their push for players – with Michael Appleton demanding ‘common sense’ from the Football League.

The Blues slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley on Saturday and had Dave Kitson sent off.

Appleton could name only three substitutes for the Oakwell fixture, and one of those was keeper Jamie Ashdown.

Squad levels remain critical despite George Thorne arriving on loan from West Brom hours before the clash.

Injuries continue to ravage playing numbers.

Kitson must now serve a one-match ban following his dismissal, while youngster Sam Magri is Liverpool-bound.

The club’s administrator, Trevor Birch, will today approach the Football League in an attempt to win permission for more loan arrivals to accompany Thorne. It is understood Appleton has targeted four more players, all of whom would have wages covered by their parent clubs.

And Appleton is praying the former Chelsea chief executive can succeed in persuading football chiefs for the go ahead.

He said: ‘I have got plenty of people ready to go.

‘I just hope the Football League is sensible enough to see it is a bit of a desperate situation and that we do need to be helped.

‘After all, we have to make sure we are competitive for the fairness of the Football League.

‘At the minute they can’t see that and that’s the point I have been trying to make to Trevor (Birch).

‘I am sure he will be making that point to them today.

‘I met him on Saturday for the first time and have been impressed because the first thing he wanted to talk to me about was players and trying to make my squad bigger and better.

‘That is a bit of a sigh of relief really and a breath of fresh air. He said he would address that for me, which was really positive from my point of view.

‘Hopefully someone will come up with a bit of common sense at the Football League and allow us to bring in players.

‘If we can’t fill a bench it could get to a scenario where, with teams at the top of the table, if we are playing against their rivals and can’t be competitive because we haven’t got enough players then they are going to start asking questions.’

Appleton met Birch at the team’s hotel on Saturday morning before the Barnsley match.

It was the Blues boss’ first opportunity to speak to the partner in PKF, who were appointed club administrators on Friday afternoon. And Birch left a good impression.

Appleton added: ‘It’s important to have a football person there – he realises what happens on the football field is key to everything when you are in administration.

‘First and foremost you want to stay in the division.

‘If you’re doing well and do stay in the division you are going to attract a better buyer in terms of stability.’