Appy hopeful of landing hitman

POMPEY boss Michael Appleton is confident of adding a loan striker to his ranks by this weekend.

But he has asked Burnley for more time to weigh up Kevin Long’s future before making a decision on whether to extend his stay.

That’s after loanee Conor Clifford made a return to Chelsea to allow Appleton to add a front man to his ranks.

Clifford’s exit frees up a space in the Blues squad as they operate to the 20-man limit imposed on them by the Football League.

Appleton is working on three targets when it comes to the striker he wants to bring in.

He said: ‘There will be no players arriving before the game tonight.

‘But we feel quite strongly that we will have someone before the weekend.

‘We’ve got three we’re in contact with through their clubs.

‘We can do one and are waiting for answers on two.

‘We’ve got to decide what fits the balance of the squad. They are different strikers and we have to weigh up what works for us best.

‘Conor has gone back to Chelsea, but with Kevin Long, we’ve asked Burnley if they can give us a few more days to assess the situation.’

Long’s loan spell at Pompey officially came to a close after he limped off with a back injury against Walsall on Saturday.

The Blues are assessing that problem and are hoping the Clarets will allow them a few days to plan their route forward with loan recruits.

Appleton said: ‘If we take Kevin and he has an injury which keeps him out for four weeks we are in trouble.

‘If we don’t take him and pick up injuries we could have left ourselves short.

‘So we’ve asked for two or three days to assess everything.’