Jack Whatmough held back from Pompey playing return

Jack Whatmough  took part in a training session rather than playing in the friendly with the Cherries Picture: Colin Farmery
Jack Whatmough took part in a training session rather than playing in the friendly with the Cherries Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey had a re-think over Jack Whatmough to ensure they get his injury rehabilitation absolutely right.

The coaching staff were contemplating giving the talented Blues centre-back a short run-out in the friendly clash with Bournemouth’s development squad at the training ground yesterday.

He probably needs at least two weeks of hard training and we have to be careful with him

Ian Foster

The 19-year-old suffered a serious knee ligament injury back in March and has recently returned to full training.

But first-team coach Ian Foster revealed it was subsequently deemed as too early to throw him back into a match with so little training under his belt.

Foster said: ‘Jack has only been training for a few days – maybe five or six – so it was decided that he needs more training than that.

‘There were a few thoughts about possibly giving him 15 minutes.

‘But he probably needs at least two weeks of hard training and we have to be careful with him.

‘He has been out for a long time and has done brilliantly to get himself back to where he is. It’s a massive plus for him that he is back in training at this stage.

‘But you can’t rush it. It’s important we do that properly.

‘He feels like he’s ready to play again but he doesn’t look it yet, especially if you had seen him in training the other day.

‘To be fair to him, it was a windy day but he just had one of those sessions.

‘But that is totally understandable – he has been out for a long time.’

Foster was less than satisfied by his team’s efforts in their 3-3 draw with Bournemouth, as Pompey took an early first-half lead through an own goal but then found themselves 2-1 down.

But he was pleased with their response, as goals from Jayden Stockley and Conor Chaplin put them back in front.

The Blues were denied the win when the Cherries grabbed a late leveller but it was an entertaining game in difficult, blustery conditions.

‘I don’t think we played well enough out of possession,’ said Foster.

‘But I don’t think we played anywhere near our capabilities in the first half and we improved after the break.

‘They caused us one or two problems, which you would expect as they have good players. I heard they had some players from one of the Milan clubs so we have to take that into account.

‘We changed one or two things and we started to do things a lot better.’

Foster also felt both Stockley and Chaplin gave watching boss Paul Cook food for thought ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup showdown with Accrington with their lively displays.

‘It’s a squad game, we’ve got a busy Christmas period coming up and it’s important these lads are ready when they are called upon,’ he added.

‘The manager has got a situation at the weekend where he can’t use one of his strikers in Caolan Lavery, so it was important for those two lads to stake their claim for a place.

‘It’s all about trying to give the manager a headache.

‘I’m sure they would be in the manager’s thoughts, as would Adam McGurk.

‘I think it would be Marc McNulty and one of those three but, thankfully, I don’t have to make those decisions.’