Appleton: Pressure is off

Michael Appleton insists the heat if off his Pompey side. Picture: Oliver Zee
Michael Appleton insists the heat if off his Pompey side. Picture: Oliver Zee
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett

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Michael Appleton insists the pressure is now off in Pompey’s survival fight.

The Blues boss reckons the football world have written off his team’s hopes of staying in the Championship after the 2-0 loss at Brighton.

Defeat at the Amex Stadium means Appleton’s side are now eight points from safety with 11 games remaining.

It gives them a mountain to climb with the ongoing departures underlining why the world has dismissed their chances of a great escape.

Pompey now have four of their next five games at Fratton Park and are still to face the four teams above them in the table.

Appleton is still looking for a spark to set alight a survival run.

He said: ‘I’m not going to say confidence doesn’t take a hit.

‘Of course it does but the pressure’s off. Let’s face it, everyone thinks we’re down already.

‘If people saw the game though, they’d have a different picture.

‘It will take a mighty effort or one mighty piece of good fortune to turn it.

‘So we’ll keep going and keep trying to get a win on the board.

‘Who knows? It could just be one win we need and it could snowball.

‘We have a week off then the games come thick and fast.

‘And four or five of the next six are games at home. So who knows?

‘We’re playing teams around us. If you are beating teams around you they aren’t getting further away from us.

‘If we’d won on Saturday other teams could also have picked up three points.

‘That’s key when you play those teams. You pick up the three points but you also stop them getting points.’

Hayden Mullins now looks set to follow Stephen Henderson out of Fratton Park by the end of the week.

Both men were left out of the team on Saturday.

And Appleton is waiting to see what happens next on the departures front.

He said: ‘I wish Stephen all the best because he’s been fantastic for me and he’s been fantastic for the football club.

‘It’s a great opportunity for him.

‘There’s a chance for him to play Premier League football if West Ham carry on in the vein they are at the minute.

‘He didn’t want to leave the club and was desperate to stay here.

‘There’s a realisation we are where we are, though. The figures made sense from our view. It’s a deal which, under the circumstances, had to be done.

‘Hayden has had the opportunity to speak to a club over the weekend and maybe this week.

‘I didn’t want him too mixed up in what was going on.

‘So he had a breather and took time out.

‘He’s played a lot of football as well and if he does get the opportunity to go it will be for the benefit of the football club.

‘He will benefit from it but so will the club.

‘Hayden has played in every game for me since I’ve been here.

‘That’s definitely one and possibly two gone.

‘Now we’ll see where next week takes us.’