Whittingham: Our form has stopped me using creative talent

Liam Walker has been starved of action during Pompey's poor run. Picture: Steve Reid (122903-982)
Liam Walker has been starved of action during Pompey's poor run. Picture: Steve Reid (122903-982)

Guy Whittingham admitted Pompey’s losing streak has prevented him from utilising Liam Walker more.

But the Gibraltar international is in the frame to feature at Scunthorpe tonight after his impressive substitute display on Saturday.

The 24-year-old came off the bench at the interval when David Connolly was sidelined by a hamstring problem.

Walker was at the heart of the Blues’ massively-improved second-half showing.

His sublime first-time pass over the head of former Blues team-mate Josh Thompson created James Keene’s maiden Pompey goal.

Although the hosts lost 3-2, Walker was a major positive in just his sixth appearance under the caretaker boss.

And Whittingham conceded the 17-match winless run had harmed the cultured midfielder’s number of outings.

He said: ‘I thought Liam did very well when he came on.

‘He’s got the bit between the teeth and has a point to prove.

‘We know he’s a decent passer. We have been trying to help him out with the other side of the game – the working back and the organisation side of things.

‘But we know he has got a pass in him and has some good touches.

‘It’s not easy for anybody coming into a side that’s on a run like we are and lift things up.

‘There is a lot of pressure on you, especially with Liam because he is a ball player.

‘You just can’t blame him for the performances when we have not created enough.

‘As a ball player you naturally don’t do the horrible side of the game.

‘You are one of the ones who is meant to get on the ball and create things and make things happen.

‘So that is probably one of the reasons why he hasn’t featured as often as he has – because the position we are in we need to try to stop teams scoring against us and hope to score one.

‘If we are flying high with a confident Liam, I am sure he would create lots of opportunities for us.

‘But we have not been in that position where we can play him more regularly.

‘We have been struggling for results and have to make sure we stay in games.

‘To see little movements like that on Saturday, though, and see how he is capable of lifting everybody is great.’

When former boss Michael Appleton recruited Walker in the summer, he tipped him to come good after Christmas.

To date, the midfielder has played just 15 matches despite the squad shortages.

Whittingham, however, is sensing Walker is coming to terms with the level.

He said: ‘We’ve been telling Liam he needs to shift the ball quicker. He has a tendency to get caught on the ball.

‘But he is getting more used to the league. There’s a lot of work still to be done, a lot of work has been done.

‘He’s a good lad, willing to work, willing to learn and I’m sure will have a good future here.’