New boss starts player talks

Iain McInnes, left, with Guy Whittingham, centre, and Mark Catlin. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131129-0728)
Iain McInnes, left, with Guy Whittingham, centre, and Mark Catlin. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131129-0728)

Guy Whittingham became Pompey manager and vowed: We’ll rebuild this club.

Whittingham was yesterday unveiled as Blues boss as the Pompey Supporters’ Trust era began in earnest.

The Fratton Park striking legend has still to finalise the details of his one-year rolling contract.

But he is ploughing on with the job of assembling a squad which can start out on the journey back to the top for Pompey next season.

Talks have started with a host of players from the current set-up, including in-form loan hitman Patrick Agyemang.

And he is looking at free agents to boost his squad numbers, and has met with former Pompey hero Svetoslav Todorov over a potential move.

Whittingham spoke of his pride at leading his club’s rebirth.

But he knows it’s crucial to act quickly to tie players down.

Whittingham said: ‘I’m looking forward to the job.

‘Of course, it’s a proud moment.

‘Negotiations are taking place, and things aren’t finalised yet.

‘There are no major stumbling blocks, though, and it’s a case of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

‘We have a lot of work ahead of us now. We are speaking to players and in-roads have to be made in that.

‘We’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, especially with the players who are here.

‘That’s also the case with one or two players who are out of contract.

‘The one thing we can’t do is buy players.

‘We have to go for free agents and there’s a possibility of using the loan market as well.

‘We can loan players if we feel we need to go down that route.

‘We’ve had talks with Patrick (Agyemang). He has been excellent since he’s been here and, of course, we’d love to have him around.

‘I talked to Toddy at Hermann Hreidarsson’s game.

‘I haven’t met him before, because our paths hadn’t crossed, but he’s a nice guy.

‘I wouldn’t count on anything and I wouldn’t discount anything.

‘We are trying to assemble and balance a team for next year which is competitive for the budget we’re on.’

Whittingham is keen to keep all of the existing backroom staff in place.

Andy Awford has yet to decide whether he wants to take on the role of Whittingham’s assistant or remain as Academy boss.

Whittingham said: ‘We want everyone to be here.

‘We got to where we are because of the staff. They all deserve to be with us and carry this club forward.

‘Awfs has a lot to think about because he’s stepping into the first-team world.

‘I know he’s enjoyed it and we’ve all enjoyed having him alongside us.

‘It’s a good balance between us and all the staff, in fact.’