Pompey boss prepared to make keeper changes

Guy Whittingham has revealed he would have no qualms changing Pompey’s starting keeper again.

Phil Smith is under the spotlight heading into the fixture with Chesterfield at Fratton Park tomorrow.

John Sullivan. Picture: Joe Pepler

John Sullivan. Picture: Joe Pepler

His awful mistake at Mansfield last weekend cost the Blues victory – instead forcing them to settle for a 2-2 draw.

The 33-year-old afterwards appologised to his team-mates in the dressing room – while said sorry to supporters on Twitter, too.

But his place remains under severe threat with John Sullivan waiting in the wings.

A precedent was set by Whittingham after the first league game when Sullivan himself was left out following a 4-1 defeat to Oxford.

Smith has been the preferred choice ever since.

But Pompey’s manager admitted he would have no hesitation in making another change in goal, if required.

He said: ‘Phil has apologised after Mansfield but you have got to be honest because people see what they see, there is no point trying to deny it.

‘He has been fine since and trained well.

‘I have a quandary every single game about 11 places on the pitch, so we will see what happens tomorrow.

‘But I don’t see a reason why keepers should be different from outfield players.

‘If they don’t play well and don’t perform then – if there is competition for places – the other player comes in.

‘You have got to be for the team, that is it. You have got to be for the team.

‘And there is no point having individuals who are not for the team because you won’t be successful then.

‘I think Phil’s performances have been okay and generally he has been all right.

‘But, on the other hand, Sully since his disappointment has trained tremendously well and that is what you want.

‘You want people to be disappointed but try to do something about it.’

Earlier this week Smith received stitches in an eyebrow following a training ground collision with Jed Wallace.

That injury, however, will not impact on the former Swindon man’s first-team chances ahead of tomorrow’s Chesterfield clash.

It leaves him to continue fighting it out with Sullivan – with the spot appearing to still be up for grabs so early in the campaign.

Recently there have been internet rumours of a loan move for Jamie Ashdown, currently with Leeds.

But Whittingham is adamant he is not looking to bring any other keepers in at present.

‘There is nothing in the Jamie Ashdown rumours,’ he added.

‘I really don’t know where these come from.

‘I look at that Football Rumours website and some of the names on there are amazing!

‘I am not after any others at this moment in time, these are my two keepers.’