Three more triallists join Pompey in Spain

Former Barnsley keeper David Preece has joined Pompey on loan
Former Barnsley keeper David Preece has joined Pompey on loan
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Pompey have taken on three more triallists during their Spanish training camp.

French midfielder Julien Lopez, Greek defender Sotoris Balafas and ex-Barnsley keeper David Preece were all set to link up with the squad today.

That brings the tally to 11 triallists staying with the Blues at their Benahavis training base until the end of next week. But Michael Appleton has ruled out any more arrivals during their time in southern Spain.

The 20-year-old Lopez has played for Montpellier and the left winger joined in with training yesterday.

Balafas, who can operate at centre-back or as a defensive midfielder, is a former Greece under-21 international who played for PAOK last season.

He was poised to arrive today along with Preece, a 35-year-old ex-Aberdeen and Darlington keeper who is a free agent.

Preece, though, is not the stopper originally pencilled in to travel to Spain, a family bereavement curtailing the presence of that unnamed player.

Now Appleton will cast his eye over the latest triallists to decide whether they will be part of his set-up next season.

He said: ‘Julien looks sharp, has got good feet, likes playing in wide positions and coming off the line.

‘We had a look at him in training yesterday and did a bit of work. Then there is Sotoris, who will be training with us today so we’ll have a look and see where we are.

‘He’s a Greek under-21 international who can play as a holding midfield player but is more of a central defender.

‘David Preece has also arrived. We have been unfortunate with a couple of keepers, especially one with a family bereavement who was due to come out.

‘However, I am sure that interest will still be there when we come back.’