Full house for Guy but squad still work in progress

Thery Racon's return, plus the arrival of Trevor Carson and Gavin Mahon, has boosted Pompey's ranks in recent weeks Picture: Barry Zee
Thery Racon's return, plus the arrival of Trevor Carson and Gavin Mahon, has boosted Pompey's ranks in recent weeks Picture: Barry Zee

For Guy Whittingham, his squad number is at the optimum level – but he expects the player turnover at Pompey to continue as the season drives on.

At present, there are 25 men in his first-team set-up – a figure which does not include the six first-year professionals.

That tally does, however, consist of Adam Webster and Ryan Bird, who are currently on loan at non-league clubs with a view to assisting their development.

Nonetheless, the recent triple arrival of Trevor Carson, Gavin Mahon and Thery Racon have bolstered Whittingham’s options in the face of some injury concerns.

A fit Dan Butler couldn’t even make the match-day 18 for the 1-1 draw at Plymouth last weekend.

Meanwhile, Simon Ferry, David Connolly, Danny East, Tom Craddock and Marcos Painter were all injury-enforced absentees, although none believed to be anything other than short-term casualties.

Still, once available for duty, there appears to be plenty of strength in depth for Whittingham at present, with a broad range of versatility also providing precious reassurance.

Although, the Pompey boss still anticipates the work in progress to continue being fine-tuned.

He said: ‘I don’t know if there is an ideal squad size – a lot depends on injuries, illnesses, suspensions, all that sort of stuff.

‘But it would be somewhere between 20-25, I would think.

‘We are well covered for each area and have always got to keep looking, but of course it’s a reasonable size.

‘We are happy with it and have the balance quite good now.

‘We brought a couple in because of the injuries we had. If we hadn’t had David Connolly out, Simon Ferry out and Danny East out, for example, then maybe we wouldn’t have thought about bringing a couple in on a month’s contract.

‘But the opportunity was there with Gavin and Thery, so we did it.

‘Who knows if we will bring in any more, but if we get three or four more injuries then you might have to go and loan another for a while. You just don’t know.

‘You take Racon and Mahon really as loans rather than part of your squad as we have signed them for a month and will address that probably month-to-month.

‘Our squad rises up at the moment but who knows when we might be down again because we haven’t got many injuries and the loans have gone back.’

John Marquis’ loan spell ends after the Bury game. At the same time, Ryan Bird is scheduled to return to Fratton Park from the Hawks.

Butler is also available for loan, with Salisbury and Aldershot interested.

Regardless, Whittingham is happy with his Blues squad options at present.

He added: ‘We are fairly happy. Some players are doing better than we thought, so I think have still a way to go – and I am not giving any clues who they might be!

‘But you look at the whole squad and we’ve got 15 brand new players in and 10 we have had before so we have to make sure they fit in.

‘The issues is some take longer than others.’