Appy: It’s a start

Michael Appleton. Picture: Paul Hazlewood
Michael Appleton. Picture: Paul Hazlewood

Michael Appleton basked in Pompey’s first League One success of the season and beamed: It’s a start.

The Blues boss saw his charges storm to a 3-0 win at Crawley Town yesterday.

Goals in the last 16 minutes – from substitute Ashley Harris, Luke Rodgers and Izale McLeod – claimed all three points for the visitors.

Their task had been made a little easier by Crawley, who played the final 20 minutes with just nine men having already been reduced to 10 men before half-time.

Appleton has seen precious little fortune come his way since taking charge at Fratton Park, though.

And he is hopeful things may have just taken a turn for the better after the midweek penalty shootout win over Bournemouth and yesterday’s success.

But few would blame the Pompey boss for his caution.

He said: ‘I daren’t say the corner has been turned but it’s definitely a start for us.

‘It’s a fantastic feeling to win a game of football with a group of people who have been right through the mire.

‘It almost tastes and feels that much better.

‘We really needed a win because the staff and the players were low after the Oldham game.

‘But I was delighted with the result and, while I think we played reasonably well, there is still a lot more to come from us.

‘I genuinely felt it was going to be our day, regardless of the decisions.

‘I’m glad we kept our discipline because it would have been quite easy to get sucked into it and for the referee to level it up.’

While Appleton handed a debut to Gabor Gyepes, the Hungarian defender lasted just 40 minutes before limping off with an ankle problem.

The injury leaves Pompey’s resources stretched to breaking point once again.

Appleton said: ‘It doesn’t look great from Gabor’s point of view.

‘He went over on his ankle and he’s got a brace on his foot.

‘It just seems to be the luck we’re having with central defenders.’

And while Appleton’s hopes of adding to his 20-man squad may have been boosted by reports of a takeover bid from a Middle East-based consortium, understandably he’s not getting carried away by the latest development. He said: ‘I’m going to ignore it until I know it’s good and proper.

‘I’m not being disrespectful but I have been living with it day in, day out for 10 months.

‘If it’s real, fantastic. But I have heard it all before.

‘I’m used to receiving bad news, followed by more bad news.

‘If it’s good news and things can move quickly, then it’s only going to help us.

‘The fans deserve some good news and some light at the end of the tunnel.

‘I just hope at some point we can start working like a proper football club because this 20-player rule (imposed by the Football League) is killing us.

‘We want someone to give us an opportunity to be competitive.’