Michael Appleton leaves Portsmouth senior players behind

Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton

Portsmouth have flown to Spain for their pre-season tour without any of the club's senior professionals.

A squad of trialists and youngsters have made the trip for some warm-weather training and friendlies against Gibraltar and Brighton.

Pompey have eight senior players and need them all to leave to help exit administration and build a new squad.

And manager Michael Appleton is hopeful some of the club's higher earners will have left before he returns.

"None of the senior players who were here last season will be travelling to Spain," Appleton told BBC Radio Solent.

As things stand, Tal Ben Haim, Greg Halford, Erik Huseklepp, Dave Kitson, Liam Lawrence, David Norris, Luke Varney and Kanu all remain on Pompey's books.

Kanu has not returned for pre-season training and it is hoped an agreement will be reached to cancel his contract at the club.

There had been reports that the former Nigeria striker could sue the club for breach of contract, but Appleton says he is leaving that for administrator Trevor Birch to deal with.

"It's not for me to get involved in," said Appleton.

"That's for Kanu, his solicitor and Trevor Birch to sort out. If that's the path he wants to go down, then so be it."

Norris and Varney are in talks with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United respectively, but Appleton says he would like them all gone.

"They will get a training programme in Portsmouth and hopefully they will have gone to pastures new by the time I get back," said Appleton.

Appleton has taken several trialists and youth-team players to Spain and the Pompey boss says it will be a useful exercise in bonding his squad.

Among those triallists are Izale Mcleod, Simon Gillett, Brian Howard, Moustapha Dumbuya, Jon Harley, Simon Eastwood, Luke Rogers and former Leeds winger Lloyd Sam.

Last week Pompey were told they would start next season in League One on -10 points and Appleton admitted it was a further blow in his attempt to attract new players to the club.

"It doesn't help," he said.

"I still haven't signed my first player as Portsmouth boss so it would be nice to get that out of the way.

"If it goes another couple of weeks and I still haven't signed anyone, then I think it could start to become an issue."

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