Whittingham looks ahead

Patrick Agyemang
Patrick Agyemang

Guy Whittingham has dared to cast an eye on the future and insisted: There is no point in making any more short-term signings.

The Pompey caretaker boss has one place available in his 20-man squad and is still assessing his options.

Recently recruited players like Patrick Agyemang, John Akinde and Therry Racon have at least suggested they are open to the prospect of staying next season.

But Whittingham has effectively ruled out bringing in another loan player who is just looking for first-team football, but has no intention of potentially joining Pompey next season.

So that means youngsters Alex Grant and Dan Thompson, who are both out on loan at non-league clubs, could be in the frame between now and the end of the campaign.

Whittingham explained: ‘We want to bring someone in but we’re already thinking ahead to next season.

‘We’re looking for people that will do a job for this football club next season – not players who just want to come and get a few games for their own benefit.

‘There are still a few players out there who could fit what we are looking for.

‘But it’s about finding the right ones in the positions you want and players who would at least think about next season as well.

‘There are one or two loans out there who might be available but we have to think carefully about the balance of whether it’s worth bringing someone in for a few games who definitely won’t be here next season.

‘How does that fit with someone who is going to be here next season?

‘So we’re thinking about the young players coming through in those terms.’

The other issue for Whittingham is that both centre-back Grant and striker Thompson – who would be in the frame to join the first-team ranks – are featuring regularly for Hawks and Dorchester respectively.

And the Blues boss believes there is little point in ending their loan spells to bring them back to sit on the bench for the first team – especially as Pompey are relatively well stocked in those positions.

He said: ‘People like Alex Grant and Dan Thompson are getting football while they are out on loan so that’s tricky.

‘You want them to have played enough football so that if they step into the squad, it will not be a problem if they are on the bench.’

If Pompey’s position in League One was more promising or they had more of an opportunity to avoid relegation, Whittingham might be prepared to gamble.

But now bottom of the division and with the 10-point deduction still to come, there is little to gain, although Whittingham has still yet to admit publicly that Pompey are heading for League Two.

He said: ‘Of course we know how hard it will be. But we want to win every game we are involved in and we will see where it takes us.’