Gyepes relishing regular return to Pompey side in Sodje absence

Gabor Gyepes challenges Oldham's Connor Brown for an aerial ball at Boundary Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Gabor Gyepes challenges Oldham's Connor Brown for an aerial ball at Boundary Park Picture: Joe Pepler
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Gabor Gyepes insists he is not tired or hampered by injury.

Nonetheless, the Hungarian has been restricted to starting only three of Pompey’s past six matches.

It’s a policy enforced by caretaker boss Guy Whittingham, who is keen to rotate his central-defensive options during a congested fixture list.

With Sam Sodje and Ricardo Rocha also in the frame, Gyepes has proven to be the odd one out of late.

Considering the 31-year-old has, arguably, been Pompey’s most impressive performer this season, it is an intriguing scenario.

Yet the former Cardiff man was granted a recall in the 1-0 defeat at Oldham at the weekend.

At Boundary Park, Rocha found himself on the bench, with Gyepes and Sodje the preferred centre-half partnership.

Sodje’s subsequent red card in that defeat has earned him a three-match suspension, starting with tonight’s Fratton Park clash against MK Dons.

It means Gyepes and Rocha – once Whittingham’s favoured partnership – are in line for the next three matches.

And Gyepes is relishing the chance to play regularly in the Blues’ side – for three games at the very least.

He said: ‘I am not injured, I am okay, I am fit.

‘It’s up to Guy. Any time he wants to pick me he can because I am okay, I am not tired, I don’t have any problem.

‘I just want to play but I think he wants to give a chance to all of us – that is why he wants to rotate the three centre-halves.

‘I don’t know if it is down to age because I am the youngest of the three.

‘It’s the situation – we are three experienced players and want to have the chance to play football because you never know when we have to finish it.

‘I would say it is human stuff. Ric (Rocha) is older than me, Sodje is older than me, while I am over 30.

‘We are in a really bad position in the table, around the club we don’t know exactly what is going on so he (Whittingham) just wants to give us all a chance to play football.

‘I’ve had a good season and I think I am in good condition – my fitness level is okay and I’m enjoying my time. I’m okay.

‘I haven’t got a problem with the amount of games at the moment, it’s normal, that’s English football.

‘The games are week-in and week-out, day-in and day-out.

‘We are used to it, there are no problems me playing these games. I have no injuries.

‘Now Sam is suspended for three matches, hopefully I can play at bit more.’

When Gyepes was rotated at Hartlepool two weeks ago, the Sodje and Rocha partnership recorded a rare clean sheet.

It was only Pompey’s fourth shut-out of the season in all competitions.

That prompted Whittingham to keep the pairing for the following match against Carlisle at Fratton Park, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

The caretaker boss then restored Gyepes to the starting line-up at the Latics on Saturday, with Rocha making way on that occasion. Before Sodje’s arrival, Whittingham was vocal in his belief that Gyepes and Rocha were his best central-defensive partnership – certainly ahead of Lubo Michalik in the Pompey pecking order.

Michalik has since departed for Kazakhstan side FC Kairat Almaty, with Sodje drafted in as his replacement.

Now with Sodje missing, Rocha and Gyepes are reunited – for the time being at least.