Pompey player hunt gathers pace

Pompey's head of sports performance, Steve Allen, has played a key role in looking at targets for next season   Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey's head of sports performance, Steve Allen, has played a key role in looking at targets for next season Picture: Joe Pepler

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Guy Whittingham started his recruitment drive in earnest and revealed: It’s looking positive.

The Pompey boss has already met a string of players as he steps up his effort to put a squad together to get out of League Two at the first attempt next season.

And he has been encouraged by the talks that have taken place with those targets.

Whittingham has been working closely with head of sports performance Steve Allen in assembling a list of players to bring in.

A number of those men have now met with the Blues boss and been shown around Fratton Park.

Whittingham has sold the prospect of being part of Pompey’s journey rebirth to those players.

And the response from them has been favourable.

The Blues manager said: ‘It’s been pretty positive.

‘I think we are perceived as a big club in League Two, but we don’t have the finance of some of the big clubs in League Two, for sure.

‘Our attraction is we are a big club and you will be playing in front of 12,000-plus supporters every week here.

‘You can come to Portsmouth, be on a journey with the club and help rebuild it

‘What we mean by that is that the players may miss out on a little bit of money but may fancy being on the journey we are about to go on and play in front of our great fans.

‘That’s hopefully attracting players. We’ve had feedback saying they like the set-up and our plans. That’s pretty encouraging.’

Whittingham has been told what money he has to spend to put his team together.

He revealed it is in the same region as when the club were in administration, which is understood to have been around £1.1m a year.

The ex-Pompey striker explained he feels the money he has to work with is ‘competitive’ in the bottom tier of the game.

But the figures could change if crowds next season top the numbers planned for in the club’s budget.

Whittingham said: ‘The budget’s going to be competitive. I know what it is but it’s an evolving thing.

‘The gates will be a factor, of course. We are about where we have been since January.

‘That’s the business plan the Trust have put forward.

‘If we start the season well and more people come through the door, who knows? We may be able to do a little bit more.

‘But we are where we are and we have to stay tight.

‘Competitive is being in the middle budget-wise in the division.

‘If we get off to a good start and things go our way you can hopefully get one or two. Then maybe we can be looking up the table rather than down.

‘I suppose you could look at Rotherham and Bradford, who you hear rumours about. We won’t be at their level, for sure – but we will be competitive.’