Walker: Quick start key now we’re team to beat

Pompey midfielder Liam Walker
Pompey midfielder Liam Walker

The bookmakers have spoken – Pompey are short-priced favourites to make a quick return to League One.

Chesterfield, Bristol Rovers, Scunthorpe and big-spending Fleetwood are all seen as contenders with the oddsmakers.

But there’s no doubt Guy Whittingham’s side are going to be seen as the team to beat in League Two next season.

Bradford joint-chairman Mark Lawn has made it clear he feels the Blues will be the club their league rivals will be gunning to turn over.

The Bantams were seen as the division’s big guns last term and found teams raising their games when they came to town.

Midfielder Liam Walker agrees Pompey will now take on that mantle.

And the Gibraltarian feels manager Guy Whittingham’s policy of assembling a squad early in the summer will give the Blues a chance to combat their opponents.

Pompey have added 12 players to their squad so far – with seven of those being faces from last season.

Walker is waiting to find out what his future holds, after being invited back for pre-season training.

But the 24-year-old believes having the nucleus of the squad together when the Blues return on June 27 is key.

That gives them the chance to get a quick start, which he feels is crucial to their chances of success.

‘I think with Portsmouth being in League Two we are going to be the team everyone wants to beat,’ said Walker.

‘I think keeping a part of what was there from last season, plus the extras coming in, will make us a good competitive team to get back up next season, though.

‘If you have the players who have the quality and the right mixture, you can do it.

‘Getting a good start to the season will be big. But with the right players, we can get back up.

‘I’ve been following the signings.

‘Guy will be getting a full pre-season with the players and, hopefully, they will be the same ones staying all the way through.

‘We need to start getting Pompey back to where they deserve to be.

‘We knew what the situation was last season. We had to get on with it and handle the situation and think of the footballing side.

‘You have it on your mind whether you will get a contract and what the situation is with the club.

‘But when you’re out training and playing a match, you have to try to put these things to one side and get on with it.

‘Things have settled now, though.

‘It’s great news for the club that the Supporters’ Trust have taken over.

‘I think everyone surrounding the club can be happy that’s happened.

‘It couldn’t have got any worse than when it was in administration.

‘But now the club is sorted and we all want to see Pompey where it belongs and is supposed to be.’

Walker was pleased that he will be coming back to a Pompey side with Whittingham in charge on a permanent basis.

He said: ‘It’s good news. He’s been a player and he loves Pompey.

‘He took over from Michael Appleton and did a good job.

‘When it’s the same group and the same players together for a while, he proved he can get the results.

‘It’s good for the club that he’s staying in charge.’