Appy: Time to repair battered morale

Luke Rodgers can't hide his frustration
Luke Rodgers can't hide his frustration

Michael Appleton told his deflated Pompey troops: Don’t feel sorry for yourselves.

The Blues boss doesn’t want his team to use the club’s ongoing off-the-field issues as an excuse for their current poor form.

Pompey were soundly sent packing from Meadow Lane on Saturday as they went down to a 3-0 loss to hosts Notts County.

That made it three defeats on the bounce and just a single win from their opening eight League One fixtures this season.

Appleton knows confidence is brittle – as became evident after his team fell behind after five minutes.

He feels it is crucial to repair that battered morale ahead of the visit of Scunthorpe this weekend.

Appleton said: ‘We’re not going to start feeling sorry for ourselves.

‘It’s too far gone down the line for that now.

‘We have to keep working hard. If we keep doing the right things over and over we will get the right results.

‘We’ll show the good play to the players and remind them of the good parts of their game and that they are good players.

‘Eventually, the penny’s got to drop.

‘The biggest thing is the first goal, because that will free maybe five or six players who are struggling at the moment.

‘The majority probably need a little bit of loving and reminding what good players they are.

‘We will do that. We need a reaction from them next week.

‘We’ve got to help ourselves and help each other.’

Appleton feels it’s down to the players to show the steel and resolve required to turn their fortunes around in the coming weeks.

He reckons pressure is having an impact.

But it’s up to the men he calls upon to stand up to the test.

Jack Compton passed up a good chance in the first half on Saturday when well placed and with plenty of support.

Appleton feels that was the sort of opportunity he would have ordinarily gobbled up.

He said: ‘It’s pressure. Whether it’s top or bottom of the league, a lot of stuff comes down to pressure.

‘You have to be composed at the right times and make the right decisions.

‘Nine times out of 10 Jack will pass the ball to the right person or tuck it away rather than lashing at the chance he had.

‘That’s what it is – pressure. It’s what you’d expect.

‘The way things are at the minute, you can’t expect anything else.

‘It’s like anything. When confidence is low, everything seems to be a little bit harder.

‘Eventually, we will turn it around.

‘But it’s down to the players to deal with it.’

Appleton is hopeful of recruiting a new striker this week and is currently working on a number of options.

Plans to make a recruitment for Saturday’s game went out of the window, but the Pompey boss feels a new arrival can lift spirits.

He said: ‘We will hopefully get one player in, which will help.

‘We might get the opportunity to bring in one or two, especially one player, and that may give everyone a lift.

‘It will always help.

‘I thought he (a possible new striker) was close to joining but there has been a glitch for the normal reasons at Portsmouth.

‘Let’s just hope and pray there is someone in for Saturday.’