Michael Appleton: I have unfinished business at Portsmouth - but it can wait
Michael Appleton admits he has ‘unfinished business’ at Pompey.
And while the former Blues boss is not targeting a Fratton Park return in the near future, he would relish a reunion before the end of his management days.
The 43-year-old spent almost a year with Pompey after replacing Steve Cotterill at the helm in November 2011.
Within two weeks, chairman Vladimir Antonov was arrested on bank fraud charges – and owners CSI soon entered administration, taking the club down with them.
There were highs – with two south-coast derby draws against Southampton.
But administration, two lots of 10-point deductions and relegation meant Appleton was dealt an appalling hand.
Nonetheless, the affection the newly-appointed Lincoln City boss still possesses for Pompey is obvious.
He told The News: ‘As difficult as my year at Pompey was, with all the financial restraints, it was still an incredible experience and one I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed.
‘It was only the latter part that it became too much, I stopped enjoying it.
‘But the reality is I have fond memories of the football club and still have a lot of admiration for everyone down there.
‘It’s one of those places and times in my life where I have unfinished business.
‘Somewhere down the line, and I am not talking now, but in the future, if an opportunity came up I would love to go back. Not now, though.’
Appleton walked out on Pompey for Blackpool, later managing Blackburn and Oxford United, while served as assistant boss at Leicester.
He added: ‘I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever – and I would look anyone in the eye and tell them – we would have stayed up comfortably if not for the off-pitch issues.
‘We had to loan out quality players to raise money and replaced them with young kids, a lot of people forget that.
‘With a group of young players, we took it to the second from last game before being relegated.
‘That was the biggest thing for me, a group of players had to pull together to take it to the penultimate match and, from my point of view, that’s quite a proud moment, despite relegation.’