Appleton wants Football League talks over recruitment power

Liam Lawrence, left, and Dave Kitson arrived at Pompey when former boss Steve Cotterill was under a 20-man squad restriction. Picture: Robin Jones
Liam Lawrence, left, and Dave Kitson arrived at Pompey when former boss Steve Cotterill was under a 20-man squad restriction. Picture: Robin Jones

Michael Appleton wants summit talks with the Football League should Pompey be granted a CVA next week.

The Blues boss is desperate to meet officials to clarify the club’s ability to recruit players.

Predecessor Steve Cotterill was appointed manager on June 18, 2010 – a day after the last Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was granted to Portpin.

In the four subsequent months before the club came out of administration, he was allowed to operate a 20-man squad policy.

In the interests of Pompey being regarded as competitive, Cotterill was permitted to sign free agents, take on triallists and recruit loan players.

Now Appleton is desperate to discover whether he can operate under the same rules to address his threadbare squad.

Matters should become more clear on Monday afternoon when creditors meet at Fratton Park to vote on Portpin’s CVA proposal.

There could yet be an alternative, with the Pompey Supporters’ Trust still to show their hand in the battle to take over the club.

Regardless, a successful CVA would guarantee the club’s Football League future as well as potentially relaxing the stranglehold on recruitment.

And with a squad of just 10 senior players at present, Appleton needs to find out whether he will also be allowed to take his squad up to 20.

He said: ‘If the CVA gets approved then that will give me ammunition for the Football League to help me.

‘Hopefully they will be receptive to that. I want quite a lot of answers from them. While we are in administration we are still ruled a little bit by them. So I’m hoping to have a sit down meeting over the next week to get absolute clarification.

‘Trevor Birch has been good about finding out what we can and cannot do and keeping me in the loop.

‘I am also well aware that in the last administration the club was allowed to run with 20 players and if that’s the case this time around we need another six or seven.

‘Of course, it depends on the CVA being achieved. Then I can have a conversation about them allowing me to bring in a few players.

‘It would be nice if that was allowed.

‘If you are saying you can run with 20 players in administration, I would be able to do something with the squad.’

As it stands, Aaron Mokoena is the next likely departure as he seeks a move to Bidvest Wits.

Any delays will be down to the settling of a compromise agreement in order to release him on a free transfer.

That would leave Appleton with nine senior players, including Kanu and Tal Ben Haim.

Out-of-contract Marko Futacs has already left, while David Norris is interesting Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff are monitoring Liam Lawrence.

The Pompey manager is well aware he has eight new first-year professionals this season to bolster numbers if required.

However, many will essentially be part of the newly-reformed development squad.

The Blues’ players are back for pre-season on Thursday, July 5, while their first friendly takes place against the Hawks on July 14.

And Appleton knows players need to be brought in swiftly.

He added: ‘If the CVA is approved there is a four-week cooling down period for everything to go through.

‘I am going to be asking could we bring a few players in during that period so at least they can be part of our pre-season.

‘It’s obvious we need bodies in – especially when we are also looking for those already in the building to leave.

‘Once it gets done, I would like to think we will be in a position to get a little bit of help from the Football League – to enable me to get at least five or six in before the start of the season.

‘Let’s just see what happens on Monday first.’