Plenty of right options for Guy over full-back role

Yassin Moutaouakil. Picture: Joe Pepler
Yassin Moutaouakil. Picture: Joe Pepler

It’s Pompey’s most over-populated single position on the pitch.

But Guy Whittingham is convinced he is blessed with right-backs for all occasions when finalising his side.

So far this season Pompey have employed no fewer than four different players in the role.

In the last four fixtures alone each of the four have been selected, decisions influenced by injury and suspension.

Yassin Moutaouakil found himself back at right-back in the 2-1 win at Oxford on Tuesday night having returned from a three-match suspension.

He replaced Joe Devera, who had only come back into the side in Saturday’s victory over Rochdale following a training ground injury to Danny East 48 hours earlier.

East had lined-up at York after injury to Shaun Cooper the previous match against Fleetwood as the banned Moutaouakil’s replacement.

Plenty of choice there for Whittingham as he weighs up who will serve in the position at Plymouth this weekend.

He said: ‘I have variation in that role, Danny has been able to play there, Yassin has played there, Joe has played there well enough and with Shaun Cooper you could put him anywhere across the back.

‘Joe is a solid right-back and Yassin will offer you his running ability going forward. He is very energetic.

‘Danny East is also a little bit in that mould as well, while Shaun is more defensive and passing.

‘Joe had a great game on Saturday and I can’t take it away from him.

‘But he wouldn’t have been playing had Danny not gone down on the Thursday.

‘Joe returned to training on the Tuesday so had to go into the team and do 90 minutes at the end of the week.

‘With all these little niggling injuries around we don’t want to risk people unless we have to.

‘So bearing in mind Yassin has been fresh after his absence for three games, it was the right thing to bring him back in at Oxford.

‘What a great cross for the second goal as well.

‘I think Yassin has done well for us this season. He was pretty much established as our number one right-back before letting himself down by getting sent off when there was absolutely no need to do it.

‘But he has trained hard and done well for us when he has played.

‘He’s been a good defender and offers that ability just to go forwards a little bit.’

Heading into the trip to Plymouth, Cooper could well be needed at left-back following injury to Marcos Painter at Oxford on Tuesday night.

East is pushing to return from the kick he received on his hamstring – a problem which has seen him miss two matches.

So it will be a head-to-head between Moutaouakil and Devera, with the latter’s last display against Rochdale surely likely to be a clincher.

Whittingham added: ‘There were a lot of good performances out there on Saturday but Joe stood out.

‘He likes playing centre-half but he likes playing.

‘If you ask any player whether they would either play slightly out of position or be on the bench I think they would rather play slightly out of position.’