Sky’s not the limit as Pompey problems bite deep

Pompey's threadbare squad in training yesterday Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey's threadbare squad in training yesterday Picture: Robin Jones
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The Sky cameras couldn’t have chosen a more ironic occasion for a rare Pompey visit.

Michael Appleton on Sky Sports talking candidly about the club’s latest woes.

Except, the satellite channel is no longer broadcast at the training ground having been cut off earlier this week.

It’s the first of many cut backs as the club staggers towards administration.

Elsewhere, Liam Lawrence’s troubled right leg was outstretched as he sank deep into a chair in the video analysis room.

The extent of the injury remains unclear, with Pompey unable to meet the £400 bill required for a scan.

Still, at least training was able to take place at the Wellington Sports Ground earlier in the day.

Although, of the 12 who took part in the full session, eight were from the club’s academy. The remaining four were Kanu, Adam Webster, Dave Kitson and Aaron Mokoena.

The rest of the squad were either being shielded from potential damage or already damaged.

Obviously, the numbers were not ideal, then again neither was the playing surface.

The groundstaff were unable to tend to the training pitches beforehand after discovering padlocks had been changed on storage containers.

Shut inside was equipment such as forks and spades, essential for ground preparation.

Another consequence of being unable to pay the bills.

For Appleton, the problems continue to pile high as he looks to focus on football management.

He said: ‘Liam Lawrence has a calf injury. He can’t walk properly.

‘How bad is it? I would like to give an exact answer but because we can’t afford to have a scan on his calf, we don’t know the full extent of how bad the injury is.

‘Our assets are frozen and I can’t ask for him to pay for it.

‘I have seen it happen where players pay to get things done but the lad has not been paid since Christmas.

‘Yesterday morning the groundstaff tried to get into the containers at the training ground to get the equipment to get the pitch ready for us.

‘There are new locks on the containers, so basically they can’t get into their stuff.

‘They can’t get the forks out to flatten the pitch and get it ready.

‘The owners of the containers have done it because we haven’t paid them.

‘It is one silly example but it effects us because you can’t treat the pitches on a day-to-day basis.

‘We were flying to Barnsley until about two weeks ago. Now we are getting the coach up.

‘Everything you can possibly imagine or try to imagine has happened, I can guarantee has happened. That is the best way to dress it up.’

Appleton was accompanied by a piece of headed club paper at yesterday afternoon’s standard pre-match press conference.

It was a necessity as he attempted to reel off Pompey’s elongated injury list.

Lawrence, David Norris, Luke Varney and Kelvin Etuhu out.

Greg Halford, Joel Ward and Ricardo Rocha unable to train and serious doubts for tomorrow.

Still, on the bright side, Jamie Ashdown, Tal Ben Haim and Kanu are all available and ready for duty.

Although, only just it seems.

Appleton added: ‘Jamie started training the last couple of days but is still struggling with medial knee ligaments.

‘For three weeks he didn’t go on the training field and we had to put him on the bench hoping that he would never get used.

‘King (Kanu) has trained for the last couple of weeks but is still suffering from his back.

‘He is a bit long in the tooth now.

‘Fantastic player, fantastic servant, but I am a little bit worried at this stage in his career what he can bring to us if we ask him to play 10 minutes or so.

‘And Tal has been struggling since around the start of the year with a sore groin.

‘He has been carrying that for a while now.

‘He has missed a lot of training over the last couple of weeks, maybe training twice. That’s the situation we are in, though.’