Whittingham insists loan arrivals will be kept to minimum

Guy Whittingham
Guy Whittingham

Guy Whittingham has ruled out busying himself in the loan market to supplement his Pompey squad.

The Blues borrowed 18 players from other clubs last season as they slipped out of League One.

Driven by the need to boost numbers in a first-team set-up containing just four contracted players during administration, it was a necessity.

This summer 12 players have penned long-term deals to give Whittingham a squad of 15 – with Johnny Ertl ready to follow suit.

The Pompey boss has repeatedly stressed his intention to operate with a League Two playing pool around the 18-man mark.

In addition, he will have the five-man development squad to dip into.

Whittingham – who today returned from a two-week holiday – concedes there will be loan arrivals.

But he is adamant it will be on a small scale as he puts his trust in the players already at Fratton Park.

He said: ‘I don’t think you can put a number on loans but there won’t be loads.

‘I want to see how the pre-season shapes up with the players we have got.

‘If an opportunity came up to sign somebody on loan who could really benefit us then there is scope to do it.

‘Certainly if we are going to do this we have to try to make sure it’s going to be with players who will be here on the journey.

‘That is not ruling out loans but it depends who is out there.

‘If you are talking younger players from Premier League clubs and Championship clubs, you have to make sure they are the right people.

‘We have looked into the players we have got, we are looking in their injury history because, with having a small squad, it is important to have people who are not going to get spells of games when they are out.

‘Obviously you can’t allow for everything, there might be one or two that pick up injuries.

‘We’ll have something left (in the budget) that if something like that does happen we can replace that person.

‘We are not going to go through the whole budget and then leave ourselves open that if somebody gets injured we can’t replace them, so we have got to have that in mind.’

Loanees who made an impact last season included Wes Thomas, Patrick Agyemang, Therry Racon, James Keene, Shaun Cooper, Scott Allan and Mikkel Andersen.

Others who had brief stays at Fratton were Kevin Long, Paul Connolly, Conor Clifford, Jordan Obita, Carl Dickinson, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Paul Benson, Alex Cisak, Jake Jervis, Adam Reed and Frankie Sutherland.

Whittingham added: ‘I’m looking at the 18 plus the five development group lads. I would say 22, 23 or 24 players is a good number.

‘If you include Johnny (Ertl) I think there’s a fantastic base for us to start the pre-season.’