Sodje has served his time - but Pompey agony continues

Pompey's Sam Sodje is shown a red card at Oldham    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Sam Sodje is shown a red card at Oldham Picture: Joe Pepler

Sam Sodje has been justly disciplined for his Oldham dismissal.

Yet while the central defender’s sentence may have now been served, the punishment keeps on coming.

Sodje is back in the Pompey squad for the trip to Leyton Orient tonight, having served a three-match ban.

It was an absence prompted by punching Jose Baxter in the nether regions twice during last month’s 1-0 loss at the Latics.

Since then, Guy Whittingham’s side have conceded just twice in three matches, collecting seven points in the process.

Not only has Sodje lost his place, he faces a massive battle to regain it as Gabor Gyepes and Ricardo Rocha continue to impress.

Whittingham’s long-time preferred central-defensive partnership are back on the top of their games. And it means more bad news for ex-Charlton man Sodje who will have to make do with a substitute spot at Orient.

Whittingham said: ‘That sending off has been costly to him (Sodje), it has been a situation where Gabor and Ric have come in and done very well.

‘Sam got man-of-the-match awards in the past couple of games before that as well.

‘He has been dealt with internally. He has apologised for it and at the moment it has cost him his place.

‘When you try to come out of a sticky situation, the best thing you can do is keep clean sheets or as get close to doing it, then it gives you the chance to win games – like Saturday.

‘A month ago we might have come in at half-time against Bury losing one or two-nil.

‘Although we didn’t play well at all when we had the ball, at least defensively we didn’t give too much away.

‘That is pleasing and we have to make sure we keep building.’

A congested fixture programme ensured Whittingham rotated his central defenders previously.

Now Sodje is back – and the Blues’ caretaker boss admits it may be a policy he operates again.

Whittingham added: ‘We have rotated before. You still have to think about the amount of games everybody has played.

‘We have a small squad and have to make sure everybody remains fit until the end of the season so I wouldn’t rule it out.

‘There is a busy Easter period coming up. You have to make sure everybody is as fresh as they can be for the small squad we have.’