Guy: Cup changes prove Pompey squad quality

Tom Craddock was among those given his first start for Pompey against Bournemouth last night Picture: Joe Pepler
Tom Craddock was among those given his first start for Pompey against Bournemouth last night Picture: Joe Pepler

More than half of the side who tumbled to defeat against Oxford made way as Guy Whittingham rang the changes.

And the Blues boss is convinced last night’s subsequent Dean Court display provides irrefutable proof of the strength of his small squad.

Pompey were already missing the suspended Johnny Ertl for the trip to Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup.

Also making way were David Connolly, Yassin Moutaouakil, Andy Barcham, John Sullivan and Simon Ferry, who all dropped to the bench.

Instead, Phil Smith, Danny East and Bondz N’Gala were given their competitive Blues debuts.

In addition, Romain Padovani, Tom Craddock and Ricky Holmes were presented with starts having appeared as substitutes in that U’s defeat.

The result was a 1-0 loss to the Cherries, but an encouraging display from the visitors – particularly in terms of their defensive performance.

And Whittingham is convinced his revamped team’s showing augers well for the campaign.

He said: ‘There were some tough decisions on Saturday that had to be made and one or two were very close to making the team, so yesterday I thought it was important to keep everybody match fit and give people lots of game time.

‘I think it showed we can change teams around and players can come in and fill in and do as well as others.

‘The decision about Phil (Smith) playing was done last Thursday, it was already decided.

‘I told Phil when I said he wouldn’t be starting Saturday that he would be starting Tuesday.

‘I think he played well, all the players played well and that is what competition is all about.

‘If you get a chance you have got to put the man in your spot under pressure.

‘Ricky (Holmes) cramped up in the last 10 minutes. He told me that’s why he didn’t put the cross in right at the end. He had to kick it with a straight leg because he couldn’t move it

‘I thought he did well, though. There was one great little run where he put the shot through on goal. Obviously, we were hoping that might go into the back of the net.

‘I think you’ve got him, Andy Barcham and Jed Wallace – they are all vying for those two places on the wing.

‘We have the three competing for those places in the middle (Ertl, Padovani and Ferry) and we have got Danny East who can slot in most places, so I think it is shaping up.

‘That is what you want, you want those tough decisions.’

Last night was also notable for Pompey receiving four bookings, in comparison to Bournemouth’s two.

Dan Butler, Wallace, East and Holmes were all carded by referee Fred Graham, who displayed little patience when trying to control proceedings.

The Cherries’ Tommy Elphick and Richard Hughes joined them in the book, and Whittingham disagreed with the Essex official’s judgement.

He added: ‘I was very disappointed with the number of cards shown.

‘Richard Hughes has come back, took the ball and he booked him. I cannot understand that and that is not even one of our players!

‘Ricky won the ball fair and square and he was punished. There were six bookings but it wasn’t a game worthy of six bookings.’