Pompey Told They Can Start Their Season

Portsmouth have been given the go-ahead to start the new season while in administration - and manager Michael Appleton will embark on a transfer spree over the next 48 hours.

Portsmouth's future remains uncertain after former owner Balram Chainrai withdrew his offer to buy the club, but the Pompey Supporters' Trust remain hopeful of completing a takeover.

Pompey face another 10-point deduction but the Football League say that will not come into effect until the club exits administration, meaning they will begin the npower League One season on zero.

A League spokesman said: ''Given the ongoing dialogue between the administrator and the Supporters' Trust, the board has given its consent to Portsmouth beginning the new season in administration.

''The club will start on zero points, with the conditions of membership announced at the board's previous meeting - including a 10-point deduction - not coming into effect unless and until the club exits administration.''

Meanwhile, administrator Trevor Birch has told Appleton he can begin signing players on one-month deals ahead of Saturday's League One opener against Bournemouth at Fratton Park.

Appleton has a host of trialists training with the club including Jon Harley, Brian Howard and Izale McLeod, but having been unable to offer them contracts he was forced to field a virtual youth side in the 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Plymouth on Tuesday night.

Birch told The News: ''We can sign players and are attempting to sign them between now and Saturday - but only on a monthly contract.

''That means there is no liability for the club. And it can afford to employ them on such terms during administration.

''We are trying to get as many as we can, perhaps eight, nine or 10 players.

''For the players there is no risk. If the club is liquidated they will be able to move to another club, even if it is outside the transfer window.

''And even in administration they will be paid under the terms of their monthly contract.''

Birch also welcomed the decision to delay Pompey's points deduction and confirmed an appeal will be launched once the ownership issue is resolved.

''I'm also encouraged by the League's decision to postpone any possible points deduction until it receives an application for membership by the Trust,'' he said.

''At that stage, the application will be accompanied by a request for a review of the points deduction.''