Survival will be my greatest feat

Pompey manager Michael Appleton   Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey manager Michael Appleton Picture: Robin Jones
Jamal Lowe celebrates his goal against Scunthorpe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey winger was a ‘wounded animal’ after dropping out of Football League

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Michael Appleton feels keeping Pompey in the Championship this season would be his greatest achievement.

The Blues boss believes the Blues staying up against the odds would outshine all his previous success in the game.

An emotional Appleton paid tribute to the 30 staff who were made redundant this week, as well as others hit by the club’s latest descent into administration.

He says that surviving in the English game’s second tier would be a fitting way to honour those who lost their jobs.

Appleton, who started out at Manchester United and enjoyed promotions as a player and assistant manager, insists survival would be his best feat yet.

He said: ‘I’ve been involved in promotions as a player, a coach and an assistant manager.

‘I’ve had successful seasons doing all sorts of things.

‘But, on a personal level, if we manage to stay in this league it will be the best achievement of my life, from a football point of view.

‘Even going back to the day I made my debut for Manchester United, this will outweigh anything that I have ever done.

‘I’m sure it will be for the players, too.

‘It’s not just because of the administration and the fact we’ve had a 10 point deduction.

‘There’s so many factors this club and the players have had to put up with over the past few months. It would probably make a lot of people’s eyes water.

‘To come through at the other end will make us bigger, better and stronger. You are talking about players, staff and their livelihoods now.

‘Some have paid the penalty for it now and it’s not their fault. It’s not anyone’s fault in terms of them losing their jobs. It’s the circumstances behind it.

‘The people who have lost their jobs are massive Pompey fans.

‘You wouldn’t blame them for being bitter and angry but I’m sure they’d genuinely love the club to stay in this division.

‘It’s raw emotion behind it, even from the players’ point of view. They don’t want to get relegated and drop down a division – and neither do the staff.’

Appleton believes Pompey’s squad woes and points deduction has seen them written off by plenty in the game.

Sympathy is also in short supply in many sections, but the 36-year-old feels that can help all those associated with the club develop a siege mentality.

He said: ‘It’s not one where it is away from us. There’s a lot of hard graft ahead.

‘We just hope everyone continues to write us off and put us down because it brings everyone together more.

‘We aren’t going away. You aren’t going to shake us off. We are going to be there right until the death.

‘No-one is going to do us a favour and everyone expects us to give up the fight and get relegated.

‘We have to ram those thoughts and sentiments down the throats of those who are saying it. I’ll be doing my best over the next 15 games to make that happen.’