Guy Whittingham has urged Ricky Holmes to show patience in his bid for first-team starts and promised: He’ll be a big asset.
The Pompey boss has explained the reasons why he is exercising caution when it comes to using the winger.
Whittingham feels he needs to hold back from throwing in the former Barnet man after a stop-start pre-season.
New-boy Holmes spent a period in the treatment room after standing on a sprinkler when training at the Hawks’ Westleigh Park.
That was off the back of a troublesome foot injury which kept him sidelined for three months at the end of last season.
The 25-year-old has found himself on the bench for Pompey’s two league outings to date.
Whittingham stated the reason for that is he wants him to be totally ready before being unleashed on Pompey’s rivals.
He said: ‘We’ve got Ricky Holmes on the bench at the moment.
‘We have to make sure he’s right before we unleash him.
‘I think with him, Jed (Wallace) and Barch (Andy Barcham) we have three talented players who can play wide in midfield. We’re really pleased with those three.
‘Ricky missed a few days of pre-season training and then came in at Bournemouth.
‘We didn’t want to put another 90 minutes into him at Accrington.
‘Ricky is the type of character who is determined to get in the side, but knows he may have to be a little patient.
‘He wasn’t happy to not be playing (on Saturday) but, of course, that is what you want.
‘All the players realise that it’s going to be a squad that does well here.
‘Ricky can play left and right midfield and also behind the front man, if we decide to go that way.
‘I think he can run at defenders. Andy Barcham can do that and Jed is learning.
‘You want creators and people who go past players and put balls into the box.
‘He’s a great kid to have around the place. He’s one of those energisers.
‘Ricky’s not only bubbly when he’s on the ball but also when he’s around the place and in the changing room.
‘He’s a good player to have and, in time, he’ll be a great asset for us. He’s still getting fit and there is a lot more to come from him.’
Whittingham feels Holmes has leapt over a psychological barrier when it comes to his injury after recovering from his pre-season setback.
He said: ‘When Ricky stood on the sprinkler at Havant I think that made him think a little bit.
‘If you aren’t 100 per cent in your mind, you’ll worry about how much you do and how much you let yourself go on a football pitch.
‘But that’s given him the confidence to realise he’s taken a setback on it and his foot is strong and he’s come through it. With that confidence he’ll go forward and put in good performances for us.’