Pompey boss insists men won’t give up the fight

Pompey caretaker manager Guy Whittingham
Pompey caretaker manager Guy Whittingham

Pompey have been urged to put another nightmare week behind them and show their steel against Notts County.

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham believes his beleaguered men need to prove their professional pride against the Magpies tomorrow in the face of the club’s continuing problems.

The Blues have been boosted by the news James Keene will be able to face Keith Curle’s side, after being given international clearance following his arrival on a one-month loan deal.

But it’s been another week of woe with the news four first-team players have been told they will not be offered new deals as a result of cost-cutting measures.

That followed Pompey announcing they are leaving their Eastleigh base after 11 years to train at Fratton Park at the end of the month.

The club’s youth system is also facing cuts, although its structure is set to remain in place for the rest of the season.

It’s more unsettling developments as Whittingham’s men bid to end their winless run against Notts County.

Failure to triumph tomorrow would equal the 15-game stretch without a win set in the 1999-2000 season.

Relegation is looming over the club more ominously than ever, but Whittingham is demanding professionalism from his side.

The caretaker boss said: ‘We want to stay competitive.

‘You can be on a losing run, get a win and then go on a run of results. There’s no reason why we can’t do that.

‘We are professionals and we never give up. It might be that we get relegated, but, if you are a professional, it’s about being competitive.

‘It’s about showing pride and giving yourself every chance when you go on a football pitch.

‘We’ll keep doing that and we aren’t going to give up.

‘If you get people running around and trying their best, I’m confident the fans will back them.

‘They take to people who do that, no matter if they playing poorly, if they are trying.

‘I’m sure they will be behind the players we try to get in and put out on the pitch.’

Keene’s signing sees him return to the club where he came through the ranks before moving to Sweden in 2006.

Whittingham is weighing up whether to throw him in against a Notts County side winless in six games.

He said: ‘James has trained with us and the only thing missing from him is match fitness.

‘But he will be in the squad and would be ready to start.

‘Knowing the character he is, he will feel ready for it.

‘We’ve put him in various positions in training sessions and he’s ready to play there.

‘He’s one of those characters who will do what is needed to help out.

‘That’s fantastic for us and good for him. He’s a really nice guy who will give everything you got. That’s the type of player we need here.’