Awford assesses defensive re-jig

Pompey defender Jack Whatmough Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Jack Whatmough Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD will weigh up Jack Whatmough’s fitness before deciding if he can play at Plymouth.

The Pompey boss has to assess how to best cover Paul Robinson’s absence for the dockyard derby on Saturday, after his dismissal against Aldershot in the FA Cup.

Robinson will serve a one-game ban for his second yellow card on Sunday.

Whatmough is a contender to come back into the middle of defence at Home Park, along with Ben Chorley.

The 17-year-old hasn’t started a game since he limped off at York with a hamstring injury at the start of last month.

But his injury problems are now behind him as he fights for a first-team return.

Johnny Ertl is another option to fill in at centre-back while Alex Wynter can move inside from right-back.

Awford said: ‘Since Jack’s injury he has only played 60 minutes in a reserve-team game at Bournemouth.

‘So it’s a case of making sure he is okay – he’s just coming back.

‘We have to look after the whole of our squad.

‘Jack is a fantastic player and he will play his part, no doubt about that.

‘I’ll lose Robinson now so that is going to need a rejig, so we’ll have a look at that now and make sure we get a result down at Plymouth.

‘With Robbo’s sending off, somebody will get another opportunity.’

Pompey are still waiting to see the extent of James Dunne’s knee injury – picked up in the 3-0 win against Carlisle – as he undergoes surgery today.

Awford remains confident the squad has the depth to handle players being unavailable.

He said: ‘Nigel (Atangana) has come in and hasn’t played for a while and he probably needed the run – like a horse trainer would say.

‘Danny (Hollands) popped up with a goal and he got one last week. I’m glad that he got one on Sunday as well, obviously.

‘Overall, he had a good game against Aldershot.

‘But as a team we wanted to do better and try to get through.

‘The situation with James Dunne is the same – he will have an operation today and we will have a look after that.

‘We’ve got a big enough squad to cope, though.’