Appleton given permission to talk to Rovers

Michael Appleton
Michael Appleton
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BLACKPOOL have given Michael Appleton permission to talk to Blackburn over their vacant manager’s job.

The 37-year-old has only spent two months in the Bloomfield Road hotseat after taking over from Ian Holloway in November.

Rovers made an official approach for Appleton last night, which was inititally turned down by Pool chairman Karl Oyston.

The manager didn’t take training on Thursday morning, and Rovers chief Derek Shaw confirmed the two clubs were talking over a compensation package this afternoon.

And Blackpool confirmed a deal had been done on Thursday evening, with Appleton travelling to east Lancashire to talk to Rovers about a deal.

Appleton has been away from Bloomfield Road this week – his first break since taking over from Ian Holloway on November 7. Pool’s players were given Monday and yesterday off after a tough festive period. The manager was also absent on Tuesday, though that day off was planned in advance.

It’s a familiar story for Seasiders fans, who were faced with similar speculation about previous boss Holloway before his exit for Crystal Palace.

Appleton is yet to speak to Blackburn, though it remains to be seen whether the chance to move to a club with a much bigger budget will tempt the 37-year-old.

The manager stated last week that he wanted “four or five” new signings ahead of this Saturday’s game at Charlton. But despite having a bid accepted for Barnsley right-back Scott Wiseman, Pool could not agree personal terms and are yet to have any joy in the January transfer market.

The Gazette understands the relationship between manager and chairman is fine, though there is no doubt that Appleton’s frustrations over the lack of transfer activity are growing.

Shaw is believed to be behind Rovers’ interest in Appleton, he knows the Pool boss from their time at Preston North End and thinks he’d be an ideal candidate to take the club forward.

He is on a rolling contract similar to what previous boss Holloway was signed to and Rovers would need to pay one year’s salary to Blackpool as compensation.

Should either party want to push through a move today, it would take an improved offer by Rovers, or Appleton to quit his job.

Rovers won three out of three under caretaker boss Gary Bowyer since Henning Berg was sacked two weeks ago.

Appleton was not at Pool’s Squires Gate training ground this morning, assistant Steve Thompson took training.

He has won two and lost two of 12 games since taking the reins at Bloomfield Road. His most recent victory was a 2-0 home triumph over Blackburn on December 15.

That result was Rovers’ fourth defeat in five matches and a 2-0 reverse in their next outing at Middlesbrough cost Berg his job after 10 games at the helm.

Last week Blackburn issued a statement to confirm reserve team manager Gary Bowyer would remain in charge of first-team affairs until the end of January alongside head of youth Terry McPhillips, following consecutive league wins in the immediate aftermath of Berg’s sacking.

FA Cup victory over Bristol City duly followed last weekend, although the approach for Appleton means it appears unclear whether Bowyer and McPhillips will see out the month.

Blackburn currently lie 13th in the Championship, one point and one place above Blackpool, who travel to Charlton on Saturday a day after Rovers take on Wolves at Molineux.