JACK WHATMOUGH has targeted nailing down a starting place as Pompey head to Crewe tomorrow.
And the defender has told of his desire to up his goal threat as the Blues travel to Gresty Road.
Whatmough celebrated getting a first competitive 90 minutes under his belt for Paul Cook’s side against Carlisle last weekend, after a lengthy injury.
The 19-year-old was one of 11 changes for Tuesday’s EFL Cup clash at Coventry.
But he’s now chasing a return to the starting XI against Steve Davis’ men after their relegation from League One.
Whatmough is also after a maiden senior goal as he bids to make his 40th Pompey appearance.
He found himself well placed for a couple of chances against the Cumbrians and feels a player with his size should be threatening from set-pieces.
Now he’s fully fit – that’s an aim of his.
‘I never felt I couldn’t do it (return from injury). I always felt there was light at the end of the tunnel,’ said Whatmough.
‘It’s come off massively and I’m just delighted I got my first 90 minutes under my belt after a long time out now. I’m happy.
‘Now I want to keep working and get as much game time as possible.
‘We’re preparing for Crewe.
‘It was quite a strong performance against Carlisle and that is something we have to build on. It just came down to not getting the second goal.
‘With my height I should get more goals myself. That’s a fact. I know that.
‘There were a couple I should’ve done better with against Carlisle. That’s another thing I can build on and, hopefully, I can get a few more goals.’
The Blues carved out chance after chance but failed to pick up a win against Carlisle. Whatmough admitted he would settle for an ugly three points tomorrow.
He said: ‘There’s a lot of pressure on us to get promoted every year.
‘We’ve got the players to do it.
‘The league isn’t won in August or September, it’s the nitty gritty times when it counts.
‘It’s when you put those ugly wins in that the champions are determined.
‘We have to go one better. If we do that it’s automatic promotion. Last year was a good season for us and we improved massively.
‘If we can do that again and improve it’ll be a successful season.’
The Pompey defence is likely to face a sterner test of its credentials against Crewe than it did last weekend.
Carlisle mustered one shot on goal across 90 minutes, and, in such situations, that presents a test for Whatmough.
He said: ‘There’s going to be a lot of times it might happen (opponents sitting back). For me, personally, I just have to stay switched on.
‘I think we looked solid. Carlisle had one shot – their goal.
‘We know it might happen quite a lot this season so it’s something we have to work on. We’ll work on ways to break teams down.
‘You still have to stay focused. There’s a lot of time in the game when teams can break and it’s one v one.
‘It was 45 minutes of Carlisle defending and us attacking, but you have to be strong for those moments.
‘You have to stay mentally switched on for the whole game. I think we did that.’