Appy: Players have to fill squad gaps

Michael Appleton admits he has no choice but to ask his men to play out of position.

The Blues boss raised a few eyebrows when he employed striker Marko Futacs in a wide role in the later stages of the 3-2 defeat at Cardiff City last weekend.

But with Pompey’s ongoing financial crisis threatening to prevent the club from adding to their squad in the final few days of the transfer window, Appleton knows he has to make do with what he’s got and ask players to play in unfamiliar roles from time to time.

He said: ‘When the squad is as small as it is, it’s not ideal putting square pegs in round holes but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

‘It’s important that we don’t forget the shift that we are asking the players to do.

‘Sometimes we are asking them to play in positions they wouldn’t normally favour.

‘But none of them are moaning – they are just getting on with it.’

Appleton has also been heartened by the response of his troops in recent weeks as the club struggles off the pitch.

He said: ‘There is a real drive and determination to do well among the players.

‘From a coach or a manager’s point of view, once you have got that, you are halfway there.’

Meanwhile, despite reports to the contrary, Pompey have already extended Futacs’ contract for a further year.

The Hungarian striker – who has three goals to his name so far this term – has not been required to sign a new deal. But the club have taken up their own option to keep him at Fratton Park until the end of next season.