Whittingham explains Gyepes omission

Gabor Gyepes was replaced by Sam Sodje in the starting XI for the visit of Colchester
Gabor Gyepes was replaced by Sam Sodje in the starting XI for the visit of Colchester

Gabor Gyepes was not dropped on Saturday for his Pompey form.

Guy Whittingham insists the need to rotate his central defenders was behind the Hungarian’s surprise omission against Colchester.

Sam Sodje was named as Ricardo Rocha’s central-defensive partner in the 3-2 defeat.

As it was, Gyepes came on in the 27th minute anyway, after Rocha picked up an ankle knock.

Sodje struggled on his Blues bow, particularly during a nightmare opening 20 minutes when three goals were conceded.

But Whittingham revealed the current congested fixture list ensured he had to make the line-up change. The caretaker boss said: ‘Gabor was taken out of the side jut because there are a lot of games. That’s all it is.

‘We felt with Ric (Rocha)and Gabor there just needs to be a bit of rotation, it’s as simple as that.

‘I don’t think Gabor can be pulled for having a bad game against Notts County, I think he did well.

‘On Saturday I thought Sam did okay. He took a bit of time to get into the game but once he did, he did well.

‘The defending was poor but it’s not just the defenders.

‘Defensively, where has the runner come from for the first goal?

‘He has run off midfield and that was a problem.’

Rocha is now a doubt for tomorrow night’s trip to Scunthorpe.

In addition, David Connolly came off at half-time with a hamstring concern.

His replacement, Liam Walker, shone during an improved second period.

Whittingham added: ‘With Ric, we will have to wait and see how the bruising comes out and the swelling goes down. Hopefully he will be okay for tomorrow.

‘David was just a little tweak on his hamstring. He did it early on and said to me “I don’t want to come off, how can I come off so early in the game, I cannot do that”.

‘So it just shows the commitment from him.’