Whittingham already swotting up on his homework as League Two beckons

Guy Whittingham was at Barnet on Tuesday night
Guy Whittingham was at Barnet on Tuesday night

Barnet locking horns with Fleetwood on a bitterly-cold Tuesday night.

Incidentally, the final floodlit match at Underhill before the Bees move to a new stadium near Edgware next season.

And Guy Whittingham was among the crowd to witness it.

Pompey may not be in League Two yet but the caretaker boss is already casting his eye in that direction.

Scouting players and observing future opponents, Whittingham is plotting the road ahead, despite seven matches of the current campaign remaining.

For him, it is crucial to lay the early foundations for the start of what will be a tough ascent back through the leagues.

Of course, the Fratton favourite doesn’t even know if he will remain at the helm to oversee life in the bottom division of the Football League under owners-elect the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

Nonetheless, he is carrying out the spadework in the here and now.

Last month, Whittingham also took in Torquay’s visit to Aldershot in a bottom-of-the-table tussle.

And he anticipates visiting more League Two fixtures before the season is out.

He said: ‘I was at Barnet the other night to look at a couple of players.

‘Not only that but it is interesting to see the styles of play other League Two teams have and the manner in which they play football. I generally look at League Two every chance I can get – it’s something I feel is important to do.

‘We’re not giving up fighting to stay in League One at the moment, I don’t think any fan could say that after watching us recently. But it does not take Einstein to work out League Two is probably where we will be next season.

‘It will be a miracle if we stay up from this point, I have to be honest.

‘So we have to take advantage from that and start looking ahead now and planning how we are going to handle that.

‘You cannot not be prepared. I think we have got to get a head start and the more you can get out and look at players in League Two, the better off you will be.

‘There are players we have identified who are out of contract next season and we are monitoring them.

‘I also watched Aldershot and Torquay the other week. It’s just interesting looking at who could be our opposition next season. I’m just getting around and seeing who the other sides are out there.’

On the same night Whittingham ventured to Barnet, his team slumped back to the bottom of League One.

Victory for Bury over Stevenage lifted them above the Blues, while fellow strugglers Oldham also won, leaving Pompey eight points adrift of safety – before any 10-point deduction.

Harsh on Whittingham’s side whose performances have picked up so impressively of late.

He added: ‘Two good results for teams around us and we are bottom of the league again.

‘It’s unfortunate after a decent run of performances but we’ll keep on going.’

Meanwhile, former Pompey player Matt Ritchie has been shortlisted as League One player of the year.

The Bournemouth midfielder joins Coventry’s Leon Clarke and Notts County’s Alan Judge in vying for the title.