Pool boss to cut massive squad

Blackpool boss Michael Appleton
Blackpool boss Michael Appleton
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MICHAEL Appleton is to slash Blackpool’s squad.

The Seasiders have 46 professionals on their books, many brought in for the new development squad.

But as he completes his first week as Pool manager, Appleton has decided the club has too many players.

He said: “We need to whittle down the squad really. There are far too many.

“I had a very very small squad at Portsmouth. I only had 20 players.

“Keeping 20 happy was difficult at times but to keep more than double that happy will become difficult. Those players need games.

“It’s my job to make sure anyone who is in the team is in the best shape possible in terms of preparation and match fitness.

“For us to do that with so many players is going to be impossible. Over time we’ll sort that out.”

With no midweek game, Appleton has a full week on the training ground with his new players.

Pool travel to face rock-bottom Bristol City this Saturday, the Robins having lost their last seven games. And Appleton says it’s so far so good for him at Bloomfield Road.

He said: “It’s gone as well as I could probably expect. I didn’t want to do too much with the team on Saturday, after the win and the clean sheet the lads had got in midweek (at Sheffield Wednesday).

“The players know that if they do well when they play for me, they will keep their shirt. If someone is playing well, it would take something outstanding in training to move someone out of their place.

“I felt it was right and proper they all got their chance on Saturday, and the majority took their chance.”

The 36-year-old was given a huge welcome by Blackpool’s supporters before the 2-2 draw with Bolton and he admits it came as a bit of a shock.

“The reception was fantastic. I was pleasantly surprised,” he admitted.

“The reception I got shocked me. I’m not really into the limelight. I like keeping myself to myself.

“I much prefer working hard and letting the players take the limelight, if they deserve it.”

One player the manager did highlight was striker Kevin Phillips.

The 39-year-old returned to action last Saturday after a calf strain. And Appleton says that was a huge boost.

He added: “Kev lifts everyone – the staff, the players and the fans.

“I’ve worked with him before at West Brom and he’s going to be a very important impact player for us.”