Pompey boss pledges ‘minimal’ changes

Andy Awford will make ‘minimal’ changes tomorrow following Pompey’s improved recent displays.

The Blues boss fielded an unchanged starting line-up against Shrewsbury following victory over Stevenage.

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Last weekend’s Greenhous Meadow fixture also saw Pompey name the same seven substitutes.

It represented rare selection consistency in a campaign which has seen rotation and tinkering become a constant.

Yet with no new injuries, and Awford satisfied with the performance in the 2-1 loss at the Shrews, he has pledged there will be no widespread alterations for tomorrow’s visit of Carlisle.

He said: ‘We have no fresh injuries from Shrewsbury, none from the reserves on Tuesday, while Jack Whatmough is back available for selection having come through Tuesday.

‘Everybody is fine, although Adam Webster is still a couple of weeks away so we are where we are.

‘There is always that temptation to change it after a defeat but you have to look at the manner of the defeat.

‘After Bury I felt changes were needed and I made them, but the level of performance has been very good in the last two games – and I think everybody will agree.

‘If there are changes it will be minimal, it will be tactical as well, it won’t be because anyone has let us down.

‘We are Saturday-Saturday now in terms of fixtures.

‘I have always said, once we get regular Tuesday games out of the way, the side becomes a bit more settled and I believe people have now seen that.’

Whatmough came through 61 minutes for the reserves in their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Tuesday.

There was no recurrence of the hamstring problem which ruled him out of action and he is a squad consideration against the Cumbrians.

Andy Barcham also featured for Alan McLoughlin’s side against the Cherries and is pushing Ricky Holmes for the left-wing spot.

In attack, Awford must decide whether to retain the strike partnership of Miles Storey and Craig Westcarr.

Westcarr has now gone eight matches without scoring and the Blues have the option of Patrick Agyemang or Ryan Taylor as an alternative.

Meanwhile, Alex Wynter is rivalling Joe Devera for the right-back spot having completed 90 minutes for the second string.

Tom Craddock, Danny East and Wes Fogden continue to remain the long-term absentees from the Pompey squad.