Whittingham calls for positive approach

Guy Whittingham
Guy Whittingham

Guy Whittingham has urged his Pompey troops: Release the shackles.

The Blues caretaker boss has told his men to play with freedom as they go to Scunthorpe tonight.

Whittingham feels the pressure is off for his side after being written off in the League One survival fight.

Pompey are winless in 17 games as they go into the meeting with the Iron at Glanford Park.

Whittingham was concerned with the lack of conviction from his side in a terrible first 45 minutes against Colchester on Saturday.

He has called on his players to seize the initiative against an outfit desperate for survival points in front of their own fans.

Whittingham said: ‘What the players should do is realise, really, they can go for it.

‘We can be as positive as they like because people aren’t expecting much.

‘Fans just want to see us give everything. As long as we do that we can be happy.

‘There’s a lot of games left but in the position we’re in and with the 10 points coming off, the pressure’s off.

‘If the 10 points weren’t coming off we’d be in a relegation battle.

‘It’s going to be tough, so why not just go for it and see where it takes us?

‘It’s not always as easy as saying that, I suppose.

‘Players want to win games and don’t want to be too gung-ho, because it could leave you open.

‘But in the first half on Saturday there was that uncertainty for whatever reason.

‘We just want people to commit to what they are doing on the football pitch.

‘If you are going to go for a header go and challenge for it. Don’t do it half-hearted.’

Tonight’s game promises to be an interesting evening for defender Sam Sodje.

Sodje is set to go up against brother Akpo, who is playing up front for Scunthorpe.

Whittingham isn’t giving that match-up any particular attention and expects his player to handle it if selected.

He said: ‘I think players are professional and can get that out of their head.

‘There are lots of games when you play against your mates and put it out of your mind.

‘I don’t know if they get on but I expect they will know each others’ games.’