Whittingham rules out big cup changes for Pompey

Tom Craddock. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tom Craddock. Picture: Joe Pepler

Guy Whittingham has ruled out widespread changes for tonight’s trip to Torquay (7.45pm).

The Blues head to Plainmoor in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

They will do so without David Connolly, who starts a three-match ban following his straight red card against Chesterfield.

But Whittingham has played down suggestions there will be many more alterations to the side which lost 2-0 on Saturday.

Regardless, according to competition rules, a club must include in the starting line-up at least six out of the 11 players who started the previous match.

Tom Craddock is one who can expect to start, having returned from a groin problem at the weekend.

For Pompey’s boss, though, there will not be many others.

He said: ‘It’s a competition we are going to give respect to, for sure, we have got to.

‘There is a Wembley trip at the end of it and it’s one of those that teams at our level make sure they look at it and treat properly.

‘Although in terms of travelling the draw hasn’t done us any favours.

‘There is a ruling that you have to keep at least six from the starting line-up on Saturday in the team – so I don’t think we will be making that many changes.

‘Perhaps Tom Craddock could come in, there is obviously a position now and he has been out for a bit.

‘There is also Ryan (Bird) available and Pat might do with a rest so we will see how he is first.

‘But it’s too early for Marcos Painter to come back into it.’

The likelihood is Agyemang will be one of those rotated as Pompey seek to manage the experienced striker’s workload.

That should see Craddock partnering Bird in attack against the Gulls tonight.

Whittingham has already stated John Sullivan will keep his place in goal, having reclaimed a starting spot off Phil Smith.

Pompey’s manager rotated the keepers for the Capital One Cup fixture at Bournemouth, but has insisted he will not repeat that this match.

With Painter not yet ready to return from a hamstring tear, Danny East or Dan Butler will once again fight it out for the left-back spot.

East had the role on Saturday but Whittingham may see the fixture as a chance to blood Butler following his time on the sidelines.

Ashley Harris could also be back in the squad have spent the past week training after suffering a calf problem.