Portsmouth's prospects in League One next season look increasingly bleak after the Football League deducted it 10 points.
The south-coast club, which has been in administration since February and is still without an owner, will be accepted into the League but only if it accepts a number of conditions, notably another points deduction.
Portsmouth was also docked 10 points last season after entering administration for the second time in two years and was eventually relegated from the Championship.
The news comes as yet another blow to manager
One of those players,
It means Appleton will continue to prepare for the season with a squad made up of youngsters and trialists and in the knowledge that even if the club does survive, it will be playing catch-up when the action begins.
No wonder the beleaguered boss said this week: "It's going to be a pre-season to remember, although probably not one I'll remember fondly."
Last month Portsmouth moved a step closer to coming out of administration after creditors voted in favour of former owner Balram Chainrai's Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal, while the
The Football League said whoever buys the club must agree that only a limited proportion of the secured debt from the previous club can be carried forward into the new company as secured debt.
It must pay all its football creditors in full, unless mutually acceptable compromise agreements are put in place.
Finally, Pompey will also face a range of other restrictions on playing budgets, future borrowing and loan repayments for the next five seasons.
A Football League statement read: "The board of the Football League has agreed to make an offer of membership to the eventual purchaser of
"The offer is subject to the successful bidder accepting a number of conditions that seek to ensure the sporting integrity of league football and the financial viability of the club going forward."
He said: "We are extremely disappointed that the Football League has decided to impose yet another penalty on the club.
"We've made it clear to the League that Portsmouth needs all the help it can get at the moment, which makes today's decision very harsh.
"We will have further discussions with the League in order to explore whether we can give them more comfort, particularly with regards to the old CVA creditors, and thereby have the decision reversed in respect of a points deduction.
"We will continue to do all we can to give Portsmouth the best possible chance of survival."
Defender James Meredith has made it third time lucky for Australians at Wembley this season by helping Bradford City jump into League One with a 3-0 play-off final win over Northampton Town.