Appleton won’t dismiss loan return for West Brom duo

27/03/12  sport''Pompey v Hull City at Fratton Park. George Thorne in action.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121104-4)
27/03/12 sport''Pompey v Hull City at Fratton Park. George Thorne in action.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121104-4)

Michael Appleton has refused to rule out Pompey loan returns for George Thorne and Scott Allan.

The West Brom duo made a massive impact during their stays at Fratton Park last season – enhancing their reputation in the process.

However, following the arrival of Steve Clarke – as a replacement for former boss Roy Hodgson – their first-team presence at The Hawthorns in the forthcoming season remains uncertain.

Appleton is monitoring the situation and has kept in contact with the talented midfield pair over the summer.

The Blues boss wants five loan signings to bolster his squad for the campaign ahead – one of which will be a goalkeeper.

It would appear highly unlikely Allan and Thorne would drop into League One after catching the eye so impressively at Championship level last term.

But Appleton is not ready to give up all hope of attracting them back to the south coast.

He said: ‘You never know about George and Scott coming back. I would never say never.

‘I would imagine they would have a lot of admirers from how they played last season. They are good players.

‘At the end of the day, is Portsmouth a big enough club for them to take a chance to come and play? I would say it is.

‘I have been in touch with them this summer but only by text.

‘They are good lads who enjoyed it here.

‘The players will know where they stand at West Brom once pre-season is out of the way and it’s the start of the season in terms of mid-August.

‘Who knows if they will come back to us?

‘I think it is going to be very difficult.

‘But I would never rule it out with the relationship I have with the two lads.

‘Like I said, it is a case of never say never.’

Thorne enjoyed two loan spells at Fratton Park last season.

However, his second period was cut short through injury. He was ruled out of the final six matches in a massive blow to Pompey’s Championship survival bid.

In total, the 19-year-old appeared 13 times for Blues.

Allan arrived in February and established himself as a favourite with the Fratton faithful.

The skilful midfielder proved to be a versatile performer on either flank and netted his only goal in the 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace.

He played 15 times in total for Appleton’s side.

It remains to be seen whether new Baggies boss Clarke will involve both in the approaching Premier League season.

Should they be made available for loan, though, Pompey would surely have to fight off interest from a number of Championship clubs.