Appleton unsure over development squad’s future

Michael Appleton
Michael Appleton
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MICHAEL Appleton has questioned the value of Blackpool’s development squad.

The Seasiders boss has inherited a huge squad, with 46 professional players on the books at Bloomfield Road.

Many were brought in for the development squad Ian Holloway created to replace the reserve team.

The plan was to train lots of young players in a squad which would run parallel to the first team.

And while Appleton thinks it’s a good idea, he doubts whether it can operate successfully at a club like Blackpool.

Appleton said: “We had a development squad this summer at Portsmouth, believe it or not.

“My question when I was still there, having seen it develop, was: are we a big enough club to have a development squad?

“And that’s the question I’ll be asking myself, the staff and the chairman here.

“We’ll sit down and have a realistic discussion about whether this club is big enough for a development squad.”

While the set-up isn’t to Appleton’s liking, he is refusing to dismiss the players involved in it.

The new boss insists every player will get their chance to impress him, whether out on loan or during training with his senior squad.

He’s hoping many of the young stars can go out on loan ahead of tomorrow’s emergency deadline.

He added: “The alternative is to have a scenario where we have a small group of 25 first-team players, and our best youth players get a chance to train with us immediately.

“There are so many 16 and 17-year-olds playing at a good level now, so maybe we need them to play with the first team-squad quicker.

“I’ve mentioned the size of the squad, and there are a lot of players with potential who are nowhere near the first team yet. In the 18-20 I’ve been working with, there is real quality. There are a couple of things I think need to improve, though, when we are not in possession.”

Appleton got his first proper look at his fringe players this week in an in-house game featuring those who weren’t involved at Bristol City last Saturday.

He intends telling each of them of his plans on a one-on-one basis.

Appleton added: “People in the game know that what you see is what you get with me. I say what I feel.

“I’ll give an opinion on things which may rub people up the wrong way sometimes.

“But I’d rather be honest with people, look them in the eye and tell them what I think.”