Guy advice strikes right note with McLeod

Izale McLeod holds off Coventry defender Cyrus McLeod
Izale McLeod holds off Coventry defender Cyrus McLeod

GUY WHITTINGHAM has been holding a Pompey striking clinic to get the best out of Izale McLeod.

The Blues caretaker boss has been working closely with the front man to fine-tune his attacking instincts.

McLeod is riding high in the League One goalscoring charts and has 11 strikes to his name in all competitions this season.

Whittingham remains one of the top strikers in Pompey’s history, with an outstanding goal return.

The man fondly known as Corporal Punishment by supporters after he bought himself out of the army to join the Blues in 1989, bagging a record-breaking 48 goals in the 1992-93 season.

Those goals formed a large part of his 112 strikes in 193 starts for the club he is most closely associated with.

Now he is passing on his vast expertise to Pompey’s forwards, with McLeod benefiting from his advice in training.

Those sessions and working on the nuances of the attacking game seem to be paying off, with the 28-year-old finding the back of the net regularly, including the injury-time leveller in the 1-1 draw at Coventry on Saturday.

Whittingham said: ‘Izale is a player who works hard in training and wants to do his best.

‘We are having little chats about being a striker, obviously, from my experience of playing that position. We’re talking about working off the shoulder and getting into little spaces where he can take advantage of things that happen on the pitch.

‘It’s also about not switching off. If things aren’t happening for you, you have to keep making those runs.

‘You make four or five runs for one to come off – and you have to keep doing that as a striker.

‘If you don’t make that run it’s the time it gets played through.

‘You end up kicking yourself for not doing it because you’ve missed the opportunity.’

McLeod isn’t the only striker to have received the benefit of Whittingham’s vast attacking experience.

Paul Benson has also been gaining advice, along with the likes of Ashley Harris.

Meanwhile, Jake Jervis is also certain to reap the benefits of Whittingham’s knowledge following his arrival.

The caretaker manager feels work-rate and confidence are key factors when it comes to getting the best out of the likes of McLeod.

He said: ‘We do the work with Izale and do the same with Paul Benson as well.

‘I think Izale is one of those where you have to keep on at him and reminding him about what he’s good at and where he can exploit defences.

‘It’s on the shoulder and his pace down the side where he can do that.

‘There comes a time as a player, and I’ve been there, where you get yourself into positions and the ball doesn’t come through because someone isn’t brave enough to try it.

‘At times he hasn’t had the ball he wanted and maybe the runs have stopped.

‘We have to make sure he keeps making those runs because, when he does, not only is he creating chances for himself but he’ll be helping the other strikers as well.

‘We have to make sure he keeps that work-rate up.’