Appleton mulling over loan exits

Liam Walker

Liam Walker

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Michael Appleton is weighing up sending out fringe players on loan in a bid to increase his squad options.

As it stands, Pompey are at the maximum 20-player limit imposed on them by the Football League for being in administration.

Among them are loan trio Mikkel Andersen, Wes Thomas and Carl Dickinson.

But Appleton is mulling over potentially shuffling his numbers in a bid to create space for more arrivals from other clubs.

That would mean loaning out those currently struggling to break in to the first team at present.

The likes of Liam Walker, Josh Thompson and Jack Compton would all come into that category, having drifted away from regularly featuring of late.

Walker has been an unused substitute in eight of the past nine matches, while Thompson has not made an appearance since the September 15 defeat to Walsall.

Meanwhile, Compton has totalled 20 minutes over the past seven matches, having been a starter earlier in the campaign

But such loan departures would be strictly a short-team measure by Appleton.

The result would see him allowed to strengthen his strikeforce, in particular.

The Blues boss declined to reveal names but has admitted it is a route he is currently seriously considering.

He said: ‘Just for the balance of the squad we may have to loan players out to get loan players in for different positions.

‘Like we have done with replacing Jordan Obita with Carl (Dickinson) this week, except it might have to be our own players we loan out.

‘I am worried we are using a lot of the same players at the minute and asking them to play week in, week out. There are a lot of weeks where you get three games in a week.

‘You cannot keep asking the same players to play and at the levels they play at times. Their levels will drop.

‘So loaning out some of our players is something I am thinking about and aware I might have to do in the future.

‘We could look to do that with a few players but I would speak to them about it first.

‘It is very short-term. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a future here.

‘I wouldn’t do that. If I felt that was the case then I would just come out and tell them.

‘People know me by now that I tell people straight. It will be very, very short-term fixes.

‘You have to worry about who needs games and who it is going to benefit.

‘It’s not just a matter of saying “you go and we’ll get him in”. There are a lot of players suffering from us doing well basically.

‘Certain players are staying in the team because they are doing well and they are keeping others out.’

Pompey may lose Thomas soon, with his loan up after the Sheffield United match.

However, Appleton is desperate to keep the Bournemouth striker.

Should he return to his parent club, Pompey would look to replace him with another forward. Although, ideally, Appleton has said many times he wants four strikers in his squad.