Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton ready for player exodus

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton expects the club's best players to leave after their relegation to League One was confirmed.

Appleton's side were relegated, in a season plagued by financial problems, after being beaten 2-1 by Derby.

"It's a sad day for Portsmouth and a frustrating one from my point of view," Appleton told BBC Radio Solent.

"I am not confident of keeping hold of the better players at the club and it would be naive to think otherwise."

Portsmouth's attempts to beat the drop were always going to be more difficult once they were given a 10-point penalty deduction for entering administration.

Appleton admits he will now have to rebuild the club over the summer and with uncertainty over the club's future, he thinks attracting top players to Fratton Park is going to be unlikely.

"We need to re-group and have a think about what needs to be done for next season," he added.

"It's frustrating because from my point of view I can't offer someone a new contract or tell them if they will be here next season because we don't have owners.

"If players are out of contract at other clubs likewise I can't offer them contracts, but what I can do is make it personal.

"I'll be driving up and down the country doing that over the next few weeks. That's the only way I'm going to get players to play for Portsmouth.

"We are going to be one of the biggest fish in the league and I'm sure we'll have fantastic support next season as we have done this year and hopefully that will be enough to attract players."

Pompey administrator Trevor Birch told BBC Radio Solent that relegation is going to cost the club around £1.3mexternal-link but that it will not have an impact on parties currently interested in buying the club.

And Appleton has urged a takeover to happen sooner rather than later, so he can start rebuilding the team.

"I'm hopeful we'll exit administration soon," said Appleton.

"From my point of view the sooner we do that, the better. It will make my life easier.

"Next season is going to be a big season for this football club because we want to rebuild the infrastructure.

"I will get a chance to rebuild the club now over the next few years.

"There is a lot that needs to be changed, especially the wage structure and we cannot cope with it as it is. Something has to give, players have to leave and our biggest assets will leave the club.

"We cannot look beyond May because there won't be a club beyond May unless something happens. But we've got to move on and move on quickly."