Boss keen to get skipper decision right

Pompey midfielder Johnny Ertl
Pompey midfielder Johnny Ertl

Michael Appleton is ready to take his time over deciding his next Pompey skipper.

Regular captain Brian Howard is ruled out of tonight’s League One clash at Sheffield United with a one-match ban after picking up the fifth yellow card of the season at Stevenage in midweek.

That means a new on-pitch leader is required.

And with Gabor Gyepes, Lee Williamson and Johhny Ertl the most likely to lead the side out at Bramall Lane, Appleton has promised to give it plenty of thought before making a decision.

He said: ‘It shouldn’t really be important these days as I would want five or six strong personalities out on the pitch.

‘But people take real personal pride in being the captain so I will make the right decision in terms of who I give the armband to.

‘Brian is more a leader by example.

‘You want the captain of the club to lead by example but if you’ve got a dressing room where there are not that many strong characters, picking the right captain can be very important.

‘There are few in there and we’ve got a bit of experience.

‘Brian has done the job okay for us up until now so I imagine it will only be for one game.’

During his playing days at West Brom, Appleton recalled a dressing room that was packed with captaincy material.

And he is keen to recreate that at Fratton Park.

He said: ‘I remember when I was at West Brom, there were probably eight or nine captains. I want the same thing here.

‘If they were at another football club, they would have been captains there.

‘Derek McInnes was captain at the time and he sorted out the tickets and wrote the captain’s notes in the programme but it didn’t mean a lot because there were a few of us who could have been captain.

‘We all took on our own responsibility.’

– STEVE WILSON