Blues boss vows to keep it simple

114097-6300 POMPEY TRAINING (SPORT) MRW 17/11/2011''//all pix in this folder taken as Pompey trained at The Wellington Sports Ground in Eastleigh - MRW // ''Manager Michael Appleton keeps a close eye on his players as they train''Picture: Malcolm Wells (114097-6300)
114097-6300 POMPEY TRAINING (SPORT) MRW 17/11/2011''//all pix in this folder taken as Pompey trained at The Wellington Sports Ground in Eastleigh - MRW // ''Manager Michael Appleton keeps a close eye on his players as they train''Picture: Malcolm Wells (114097-6300)

Pompey will have a pretty familiar look under their new boss tomorrow after Michael Appleton declared: I won’t rip up the recent good work.

The 35-year-old takes charge of the Blues for the first time as they travel Watford.

And he has vowed to maintain the continuity caretakers Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray created.

While some managers are keen to put an immediate stamp on a team, Appleton is determined to make the transition as smooth as possible.

He said: ‘There are not massive changes that need to be done.

‘Over time, there will be subtle changes that will hopefully benefit everyone.

‘There will be certain positions in the team I will highlight during the week, speak to certain players and tinker with things.

‘From my point of view, from the bits I have seen before I joined the club, we play decent football and that will continue.

‘There is a settled side there.

‘If I think I can tweak it in one or two positions that would help it, then obviously I will do that.

‘Ultimately, we are in a position where a few players have had a good run in the team at the moment and it would be a bit gut-wrenching for me to come in and make too many changes too soon.

‘I would be very surprised if I make big, big changes.

‘I think I would be a silly man to do that.’

Appleton has been keen to pick the brains of his coaching staff in his first week at the helm and admits their help has been vital in bringing him up to speed.

Appleton said: ‘When you go into a club, you need to know where it’s at very quickly.

‘That’s why Guy and Stuart have been so important.

‘It would have been daft of me to come in on my own to work with people I hadn’t met before and start ranting and raving or changing this and that.

‘Guy and Stuart have been good for me in that sense.

‘I have been able to bounce questions off them constantly over the past week or so.

‘Over time, I will make subtle changes to how we play the game, how we approach the game and how we deal with things.

‘But from my point of view, I need to learn as much as I can about the players very quickly.

‘Then I can make those changes.’

After his appointment last week, Appleton has watched DVDs of Pompey’s recent games but believes he has learned more from working with them in training.

‘I probably learned more about the players in the past few days than I did in watching six DVDs of them playing against opposition,’ said Appleton.

‘You learn a lot about players when you look at them in the whites of their eyes and you see them on the training field when you can see what their good and bad habits are.’

He added: ‘It’s been great – the lads have been really positive. But I’m desperate to get a game under my belt.’