Hard graft paying off for Pompey defence

Pompey caretaker manager Guy Whittingham    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey caretaker manager Guy Whittingham Picture: Joe Pepler

It’s a new-found Pompey defensive resilience honed on the training pitch.

That is the secret behind the Blues’ run of just seven goals conceded in the past 11 matches, according to Guy Whittingham.

One of the worst defences in League One has suddenly shut-up shop, providing the backbone to the club’s recent resurgence.

It’s a period which has seen just two defeats in 11 games – with four clean sheets.

Pompey have also not conceded at Fratton Park for 333 minutes, the latest shut-out coming against Tranmere on Monday.

In addition, the Blues haven’t let in more than a goal in a game since February 9 at Bournemouth.

It’s the result of Whittingham and Andy Awford’s efforts with the players on the training pitch.

And for Pompey, it is clear the efforts are reaping the rewards.

Whittingham said: ‘This defensive strength has come from the practice pitch.

‘It is working with players day in, day out. Playing with each other, working on it as we do every week defensively, getting that confidence.

‘It’s nice to see when you put all that hard work in to a group of players, they take on board your ideas because they like them and are willing to work at them because they know it is the right way to do things.

‘It is about managing the situation. Making sure when you do the work you need to do, that the players you want out there are there.

‘Whether you might have to put it back a day or make it earlier after considering where the players are with their fitness.

‘It’s an understanding you build. You have got to practice those things, you can’t recreate what happens in a game but you can get pretty close to it.’