Appleton: No need to panic

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton
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Andy Awford and Kit Symons

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Michael Appleton promised Pompey were keeping cool heads after becoming entrenched in the Championship drop zone.

Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Leeds at Fratton Park saw a five-point gap open between the Blues and safety.

Appleton’s men have a game in hand on the two sides immediately above them, but the size of the task they face to stay up is more apparent than ever.

The 36-year-old vowed there was no need to hit the panic button with 14 games of the season remaining.

But he warned the gap could not open any further as his team hit a critical period in deciding their fate.

Appleton said: ‘I said there are 15 cup finals before the game (against Leeds).

‘So we have to move on quickly now.

‘This week is the start of eight crucial games for the club in a month.

‘There are a lot of points to play for, over a short period of time.

‘We’ll make sure we’re prepared right and put in the same sort of performances we put in on Saturday.

‘It doesn’t matter what the table looks like now. It’s April 28 that I’m concerned about.

‘There will be certain teams who pull away and think they are out of it.

‘They will then get dragged back into it.

‘We just want to drag in as many people as possible.

‘If we get the same support as we did against Leeds we’ll have a huge opportunity to stay in the division.

‘The fans really helped us. They got behind us and continued to do so throughout.

‘It gives us a lift – and everyone noticed that.

‘We all want the same thing. We want to stay in the Championship and have 14 games to do it.

‘We have to make sure teams don’t go too far away from us.

‘There are a lot of games to go still.

‘There’s no panic and hopefully we can get a few players who have been sidelined back on the field.’

The search is continuing for a new investment, with club administrator Trevor Birch tasked with finding an owner.

Pompey fan Brian Howe has been linked with a move along with his friend and businessman Vince Wolanin.

Howe was in the directors’ box on Saturday, but Appleton knows nothing about him coming into the equation.

He said: ‘I speak to Trevor two or three times a day.

‘He’s speaking to possible investors.

‘I haven’t heard about that one (Howe), but hopefully he has seen something to think why not?

‘I do believe it is a fantastic opportunity for someone.

‘Hopefully, someone will be brave enough to take the club forward and give us some stability.’