Appy: FA Cup won’t distract our survival focus

Michael Appleton. Picture: Steve Reid (123216-0840)
Michael Appleton. Picture: Steve Reid (123216-0840)
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Michael Appleton insists he will not be distracted by the FA Cup this season.

The Blues boss has made no secret of the fact that his main priority is keeping Pompey in League One for next season.

But while he admits he would take league survival over an FA Cup adventure, he has promised the Fratton faithful will not be short-changed ahead of the clash with Notts County.

Appleton said: ‘We can’t win the FA Cup – fact.

‘When they (Pompey) did win the Cup and were runners-up, there was a chance of winning it because they were a Premier League team at the time.

‘It would be nice to go through two or three rounds but I won’t be taking my eye off the ball in terms of my one goal this season, which is to make sure that Portsmouth is in this division next season.

‘That is the big picture. We have got a 10-point deduction hanging over our heads.

‘I’ve got a target and hopefully we’ll be in a much better place this time next year.

‘But I’m not being disrespectful to the FA Cup in any way, shape or form.’

Pompey were handed a high-profile draw at Chelsea in last season’s third round and the club coffers could certainly benefit from another lucrative fixture in the later rounds against a Premier League side.

And Appleton’s own pride will not allow himself to throw the towel in on a game – especially with a demanding set of home fans keen to see their side back to winning ways.

The Blues boss said: ‘Of course, you want to win every game you play and we’ve had a couple of close defeats away from home so it’s nice to get back to Fratton.

‘I’m glad we’re playing a League One side who are doing well. It adds that little bit of extra spice that they beat us a few weeks back.

‘I just think that after everything that has gone on at the club, I don’t want to take my focus away from what is really, really important and that is our league campaign.’

Appleton’s selection options are few and far between, so he doesn’t have the luxury of making wholesale changes to his side.

And while he’s eager to restore the winning habit after two straight defeats, he doesn’t believe his men are lacking any confidence.

He said: ‘I don’t think there is a problem with the confidence but the results have just not quite gone our way.

‘I certainly didn’t see a confidence problem in training this week.

‘But we saw how the game against Bournemouth in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earlier in the season gave the lads a boost going into the next game.

‘If that happens going into the Brentford game on Tuesday, then so be it.’