Whittingham buzzing over Pompey showing

Patrick Agyemang battles with Rayo's Mojica. Picture: Joe Pepler
Patrick Agyemang battles with Rayo's Mojica. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey brought their pre-season to a close with defeat to a classy Rayo Vallecano.

But boss Guy Whittingham was delighted with the quality of football produced by his own side as they locked horns with the La Liga outfit.

First-half goals from Saballs and Adrian were enough to give the Spanish outfit victory at Fratton Park yesterday.

They had themselves suffered defeat 24 hours earlier at Millwall in Paul Robinson’s testimonial.

But it was a much-changed Vallecano side who took to the field against Pompey and they oozed quality.

The Blues certainly had their moments though, to cheer the 4,945 crowd in the final first-team fixture ahead of Saturday’s League Two opener.

Regardless of the result, Whittingham was pleased with how his team performed on the occasion.

He said: ‘I was very pleased with the Bournemouth display and I think we have steadily increased as we have gone through.

‘Yesterday was pleasing because everybody looked sharp – and we have another week to go and will organise a few more things.

‘I think we played some good stuff against Vallecano, the only thing missing was the finish at the end of it.

‘If there was any criticism, it was we weren’t ruthless in front of goal but we played some great football to get there.

‘The first goal was unfortunate because Johnny (Ertl) had just missed a great chance at the other end to give us the lead.

‘Then Romain (Padovani) got caught on the ball.

‘But he is learning as well to cope with this standard so I think it is promising.

‘The two up front (Connolly and Agyemang) also did really well and have obviously got an understanding from last season.

‘What really pleased me, though, was the way we played football.

‘I think we combined well in most areas, you can be critical and say we didn’t finish those moves off.

‘But I was very encouraged by the football we played.’

Yesterday also marked a Pompey introduction for Simon Ferry following his arrival last week.

The former Swindon midfielder appeared as a second-half substitute for Padovani and showed a few glimpses of the quality he can bring.

Afterwards Whittingham praised Ferry who has played only one other 45-minute stint in pre-season.

After leaving Swindon he also spent several weeks trialling at Yeovil in a bid to win a deal.

Despite his lack of minutes during the summer, though, Whittingham believes he will be available for selection come the visit of Oxford on August 3.

He added: ‘I thought Ferry was good yesterday.

‘Considering it was only his second 45 minutes you could see he has got a good understanding of the game and talks very well.

‘He’s not had a lot of matches this pre-season and trained with Yeovil for a couple of weeks and had 45 minutes there – but he is a naturally fit lad.

‘We have brought him here to try to boost the squad and he will be in the mix with everybody else for the start of the season.

‘We will see how he feels in terms of starting matches but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is ready for Saturday.’