Appy targets loan raid

Pompey's new boss Michael Appleton. Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey's new boss Michael Appleton. Picture: Robin Jones

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Michael Appleton has revealed he is already closing in on making his first Pompey signing as he targets a new loan recruit.

The Pompey boss has spent this week assessing his squad in the lead up to his first game in charge at Watford today.

But the emergency loan window closes on Thursday at 5pm – after which, Pompey will have to make do with their existing squad until the transfer window re-opens on January 1.

And while Appleton is understandably coy over potential targets, it is clear he has already made progress in making a signing to boost the playing ranks.

Asked if he had identified possible loanees, Appleton smiled: ‘I might have!

‘Hopefully, we will see one or two before the end of the loan window.

‘I’ve had conversations with people about the availability of certain players and whether we can get them. But I want to bring players in who are going to improve the team and make us better.

‘There is no point in bringing players in just for numbers.

‘That’s where I think you’ve got to back the kids you’ve got in the squad.

‘If it’s about making numbers up and getting people on the bench, there’s no point in doing it.

‘Over the coming weeks and especially this week, with the loan window shutting, we can add to the balance of the squad.

‘If it’s the right one and we can improve the squad, then great. If not, we’ll carry on with what we have.’

The obvious conclusion is Appleton will make an instant raid on former club West Brom, although no targets have yet been mentioned.

Pompey have only delved into the loan market twice so far this season, securing Bjorn Helge Riise and Abdul Razak.

Riise’s stay was unsuccessful – he has since returned to Fulham – but Razak is on loan until November 29 and his deal from Manchester City could yet be extended.

While Appleton is also looking beyond his existing squad, he has re-opened the door to players who were some way down the pecking order under previous boss Steve Cotterill.

He said: ‘I would imagine over a three or four-week period, there will be a better opportunity to see what parts of the club desperately need improving – and what parts of the squad desperately need improving.

‘Sometimes you’ve got to give players at the club the opportunity because different managers have different philosophies and styles of play.

‘There might be two or three players who have not featured for a long time and suddenly find themselves playing every week.

‘A few people will maybe have a point to prove with a new manager coming into the building.

‘They will be desperate to impress and hopefully that will be the case.’