Guy hopes fledgling five will learn Pompey lessons

Pompey youngster Dan Thompson
Pompey youngster Dan Thompson

As development group coach, Guy Whittingham has proudly waved his young fledglings off to school.

As Pompey’s caretaker manager, he is counting the days until they return and can form part of his first-team squad.

The likes of Dan Thompson, George Colson, Dan Butler, Elliot Wheeler and Jed Wallace have now all embarked on a spell in non-league football.

Butler, who yesterday signed a new month-long deal with the Hawks, and Wallace (Whitehawk) have already impressed, while Wheeler was unfortunately injured on his Bashley debut.

In addition, Thompson and Coulson recently joined Dorchester for a month.

Thompson appeared as a second-half substitute for the Magpies on Tuesday night and had a hand in the equaliser in their 2-2 FA Trophy draw with Luton.

With Andy Higgins returning to Australia and Alex Grant not yet back from a knee injury, it means Whittingham’s development group have all checked out.

But he believes such non-league lessons will be essential to their development.

Whittingham said: ‘The good news about them is they are all out on loan.

‘I’ve talked about Jed before but we also have George Colson, Dan Thompson, Dan Butler and Elliot Wheeler out with non-league clubs at the minute.

‘It’s a great time to go out as well and get games. Over the Christmas period there are a lot of matches and hopefully, if everything goes well with the Supporters’ Trust, come January we will be out of administration and can introduce them in.

‘Dan (Butler) is one of those who, when we have five on the bench, you would put him on there straight away for the experience.

‘He and Jed Wallace have leapt up because they have been out on loan and done well.

‘Elliot is at Bashley but got injured on his debut. He had a gash with seven stitches in. A big, wide gash.

‘He got it within the first five minutes. He went in for his first non-league challenge, it was only a 50/50!

‘He didn’t realise until half-time when he put his sock down and his leg was open.

‘Then he had to go to hospital to get it sorted out. Fortunately for him – and for us – Bashley didn’t have too many games while he was out, so hopefully he will be in contention.

‘It has always been the plan to get these lads out on loan.

‘You have got to get them in and around the training and the coaching environment of the first team. Then a couple of months down the line you can start thinking about where you can put them out.’

Meanwhile, Grant is closing-in on a return to action.

The 18-year-old defender impressed in the Capital One Cup defeat at Plymouth, yet damaged knee ligaments weeks later in a behind-closed-doors fixture.

Whittingham added: ‘Alex is just at the end of his rehab. He has done really well and in the next couple of weeks should be back into full training.

‘He is going to need a month or two month’s training before he goes out on loan to make sure he is physically strong enough and the knee is capable of taking the punishment.’