Boss: Academy won't be neglected
Guy Whittingham has
vowed Pompey’s Academy will not be ignored despite the Blues’ staff upheaval.
After Michael Appleton and assistant Ashley Westwood’s departure to Blackpool this week, Whittingham took command of the first team as caretaker manager, with Academy boss Andy Awford stepping up to join the new management structure.
That has left the coaching resources elsewhere in the club stretched to breaking point.
Paul Hardyman has taken on more duties with the youth development alongside Alan McLoughlin, who is set to return to work next week after his recent operation.
But Whittingham knows the number of coaching staff needs addressing.
However, he is confident the young players will not be affected and the existing coaches can cope for the time being.
He said: ‘We have lost two members of staff so it’s difficult to adjust things around so quickly.
‘Andy is assisting me and will leave the Academy to Paul Hardyman and Alan McLoughlin.
‘I think Alan is coming back next week and that is the good thing about it. We’ve got good staff here and you know you can leave it in their capable hands.
‘A lot of good work has gone on at the Academy.
‘To achieve what they have with the amount of players they have produced – with the resources they have got – is good going.
‘But all over the club, we have got people who really want to be here.
‘We’ve got a great crew but everyone will pull together at a time when there is uncertainty now the manager has gone.
‘We will all come through. But we’ve got a free week next week and will have more of a look at things.’
Whittingham, who was previously Pompey’s development coach, is also keen to maintain the strong links between the first-team squad and the Academy that were nurtured under Appleton.
And he feels that will soon yield more players capable of stepping up to the first team.
The caretaker boss said: ‘The development group was always in and around the first-team training, anyway.
‘Michael Appleton was very good at that and liked the kids to be around it because he felt they improved more that way.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing before but it’s great to be back on the scene where the performance and the results really matter.
‘They have definitely got some good, young lads coming through.’
While the Academy is vital, Whittingham is well aware the first team is the priority at the club.
He said: ‘We’ve got to get things right on the pitch and, first and foremost, put in some good performances at first-team level.
‘We’ve got some decent players here. Hopefully, we can galvanize and go on from that.’