Pompey prepare to pull plug on Andersen

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Mikkel Andersen is expected to be the first target to be culled as Michael Appleton attempts to cope with his 62.50-per-cent budget cut.

The highly-regarded Reading keeper had agreed to join Pompey on a season-long loan once a takeover had been completed.

That move is now set to be scrapped, with the Blues no longer able to afford his wages.

Portpin’s decision to slash a previously-agreed proposed playing budget of £4m to £1.5m in the past week has accounted for that.

In addition, Appleton anticipates losing 50 per cent of the recruits he has been lining up since the start of May.

That includes Billy Paynter, who yesterday signed for Doncaster rather than arriving at Fratton Park.

Last week Peter Ramage (Crystal Palace) and Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth) slipped out of the Blues’ grasp as their patience finally wore out.

Portpin’s U-turn has devastated a summer’s planning for Appleton. It has also destroyed much remaining faith among Pompey fans towards their intentions.

Appleton is still waiting to learn of their reasons for doing so, with both Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir so far refusing to take or return his calls.

In the meantime, he has been left with a £1.5m budget – believed to be among the five lowest in League One.

That figure matches the budget League Two side Northampton Town operated on last year.

Pre-season opposition AFC Wimbledon’s budget is £1m, while Wycombe Wanderers, relegated from League One last term, have a budget of £1.25m.

In contrast, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust have factored in £2.65m for a playing budget in their business plan.

And while Pompey await Portpin to finalise their long-running takeover, Appleton is left with starting his rebuilding all over again – days before the start of the league campaign.

He said: ‘The arrival of Andersen is something we have to decide over the next two or three days because you have got to weigh up every scenario.

‘The honest answer is it will obviously be very, very difficult and we would have to compensate in different areas to get him through the building.

‘If it becomes a situation where we will have to miss out on two or three players to get him, that would make life very, very difficult and I think you have got to make a sensible decision from there.

‘You might have six or seven who you thought were real key players. It might be now we can only sign two or three of them.

‘You will have to build a younger squad around them and hopefully that will be competitive to keep them in that division.

‘I think I’ve already lost out on at least 12-15 players in terms of the timescale, regardless of the budget. We will probably now lose out on another 50 per cent.

‘At the minute, I still think we are in a position where we can do something with those players on trial. There might have to be a bit of give and take in those areas but I still think we can do something.

‘It’s a bit of a mess. It didn’t have to be this way and I am a little bit surprised and shocked that it has gone this far.

‘I expected it to be dealt with before this – but for whatever reason the owners are not playing ball.’