Pompey backed to survive despite points loss

Michael Appleton is not losing hope despite Pompey's impending points loss   Picture: Robin Jones
Michael Appleton is not losing hope despite Pompey's impending points loss Picture: Robin Jones
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Sol Campbell on his return to Fratton Park in December. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Appleton prepared for a Pompey points deduction but vowed: We’ve got the fight to survive.

The Blues yesterday issued notice to enter administration for the second time in just two years and will now wait for a High Court hearing on Friday for their future to be discussed.

If, as expected, administration is granted, Pompey will face a points deduction of at least 10 points from the Football League, which will plunge them straight into the heat of a relegation battle.

If they are deducted the minimum 10 points, they would currently be outside of the bottom three on goal difference.

But Appleton has already discussed the potential points loss with his players and remains confident his men are relishing the battle ahead of tonight’s visit of Ipswich.

Appleton said: ‘If we did lose the 10 points, we would be outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

‘It’s not a particularly great position to be in, but I can certainly think of worse scenarios.

‘We could be 10 points adrift right at the bottom or from the nearest team above us.

‘So we’ve still got a fighting chance.

‘It’s all about how we attack it from a team and a squad point of view.

‘We’ve spoken openly and honestly with each other about the possible scenarios. One of those was if we were docked points and how we would deal with that or what expectations we would have.

‘That meeting ended up being really positive and I came out of it feeling that, if the worst-case scenario did happen, then the players would be up for the fight and the challenge ahead.’

With 10 points deducted, Pompey would be level on points with third-from-bottom Nottingham Forest, who are led by former Blues boss Steve Cotterill.

But while Appleton’s men currently have a much superior goal difference, he believes the clubs below Pompey would be given a major lift with another team dragged into the battle.

Appleton said: ‘The biggest thing we would have to overcome very quickly would be the morale.

‘You’ve got to hope that it doesn’t take four or five games for the players to get into their heads what has happened to us.

‘You’ve also got to be aware the teams around you and at the bottom of the league will see it as getting a second chance.

‘The effect can be detrimental on us but it can also be an advantage to the other teams down there.’

It remains to be seen whether Pompey will be in for a more severe punishment from the authorities, who could yet decide to impose a bigger points deduction. But Appleton remains heartened by the response from his players.

And he has also urged the club’s supporters to show their worth again after their memorable display of defiance at Bloomfield Road.

Appleton said: ‘Nobody has been paid as yet. But there is a real spirit at this club to do the best they possibly can. You can see from the performance at Blackpool.

‘What is happening at the club should be affecting them but they are certainly doing their best to make sure it doesn’t.

‘The fans were fantastic up at Blackpool. They made it feel like a home game up there.

‘Hopefully, we will have a near full house and have the place jumping.

‘There is always something extra about evening games as well so we hope it’s a special night.’