Appy sets his case for the defence

Michael Appleton
Michael Appleton
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MICHAEL Appleton has told Blackpool fans not to expect huge changes at Bloomfield Road.

The new manager takes charge of training for the first time today after meeting his players yesterday.

He arrived from League One side Portsmouth insisting he’s not about to rip up all the hard work done by predecessor Ian Holloway.

Appleton is one of the most highly regarded young managers in the game and he will take charge of his new team for the first time against Bolton at Bloomfield Road tomorrow.

He told The Gazette he realises he has inherited a good set-up at Bloomfield Road. “If it’s not broken, don’t try to mend it,” he said.

“Obviously I’ll be taking the opportunity to tweak a few different things. I’m sure all the players and staff would like to keep more clean sheets.

“But if you’re scoring more than the opposition, that’s all that counts. I certainly won’t be making massive changes to the way the team plays.

“I’ve been brought up playing passing, attacking football. The philosophy won’t be different – maybe a few little tweaks here and there.”

The 36-year-old has spent the last two nights watching DVDs of Blackpool’s games.

While Pool have fired 25 goals in their 15 games so far this season, they’ve let 22 in at the other end.

And it’s the defensive side of the game that Appleton has already highlighted as an issue.

He said: “There won’t be massive changes in the style and way the team plays. Hopefully I can make us a little bit more solid and add clean sheets that will help us.

“The longer the season goes on, the stronger sides really come into it.

“Come Christmas and New Year, you find out if you’re going to kick on or if it’s going to be a long, hard season. Hopefully we’ll be pushing on. We need to kick-start everything for the rest of the season.”

Blackpool currently lie 12th in the Championship, three points off the play-offs and nine behind Holloway’s table-toppers Crystal Palace.

But Appleton thinks any side which can put a good run of results together is in with a real chance of promotion this season. “The biggest thing for us will be consistency, though I know that’s a bit of a cliché,” he said. “You have to put consistent performances in every single week.

“Sometimes you have to do it three times a week, so it will be about being mentally strong. Hopefully we’ve got enough in our dressing room.

“In the Championship you can go through six games unbeaten, but then the next thing you know you lose five or six and that’s what’s happened here.

“But I’ve been promoted from this league twice as a coach and as a player, so I know what it takes to get out of this division – that’s important.

“With one or two additions in January, we’ll be looking to push on back towards that.”