Homework fires Pompey’s Posh plan

Michael Appleton casts his eye over the Pompey squad during training. Picture: Robin Jones
Michael Appleton casts his eye over the Pompey squad during training. Picture: Robin Jones
Theo Widdrington. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey youngster announces departure

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Michael Appleton is ready to follow Brighton’s blueprint to down the Posh.

Pompey travel to Peterborough tomorrow determined to give their beleaguered fans something to cheer about, with their club in the middle of another bleak period.

Appleton goes up against his old Manchester United team-mate Darren Ferguson in the encounter.

And the Blues boss has being doing his homework on Ferguson’s side, who have made friends in the Championship this season with their brand of attractive football.

They have lost their past three games, though, and have failed to win in five as they sit one place above Pompey in the table.

Appleton has sat through DVDs of their defeats to Sunderland, Hull and the Seagulls last week.

He believes those games offered clues about how to approach the trip to London Road.

Appleton hinted he is prepared to tinker with his side in terms of personnel and tactics to put that plan into action.

He said: ‘We’ve got a difficult game against a really good side.

‘Regardless of some of their recent results, they play some really good football – I like the way they play. We have worked very hard this week on trying to prepare the team properly to win the game.

‘Hopefully we can get a few Pompey fans there to make it a bit of an atmosphere and get three points.

‘They are a young side and Darren has got a young group of players there who are very athletic and have a lot of enthusiasm.

‘They caused Brighton a heck of a lot of problems last weekend, which I watched back.

‘I was interested with the way Brighton set up against them and countered against them at times.

‘They were unlucky to lose the game, though.

‘They are a good side and they pass it well.

‘I’ve seen their past three games.We’ve got a game plan and we think we know how to win the game.

‘Maybe we might make one or two changes to the personnel and tinker with things a bit.

‘I think we need to do enough to stay in the game to the later stages and then be able to affect it.

‘If they are keeping the ball in front of us and passing it in front of us, I have no issue with that.’

Pompey are also on a run of three defeats going into their first trip to Peterborough since 1997.

But Appleton believes the losses against Chelsea, West Ham and Cardiff City have not told the story of what took place.

The 36-year-old has been lifted by the attitude of his men in those outings.

He highlighted the grit of the 10-man effort in the second half against West Ham. And also the manner in which they pushed high-flying Cardiff City on their own patch before being sunk deep into injury-time last weekend.

Appleton expects no less for the clash with Peterborough and the rest of the season.

He said: ‘I’ve been positive. The results haven’t gone to plan but you have to break down the games and the performances.

‘Against West Ham, I think we would have won the game with 11 players.

‘That’s not shooting from the hip – we had a right go at them with 10 men and I thought we were unfortunate to lose.

‘Then we travelled to Cardiff last week with 13 fit senior players – two of them keepers.

‘So life was difficult from the start but we ended up losing the game in the fourth minute of injury-time.

‘What does that tell me about the players? It tells me we have players who will fight to the death and have a fantastic attitude.

‘It proves to me that in the next 20 games, when they come off the field, they would have made the opposition know they have been in a game.

‘West Ham and Cardiff certainly have been.’