Pompey player hunt hits wall

Guy Whittingham admits Pompey's continued plight is hitting their recruitment drive.

Tuesday, 15th January 2013, 11:03 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:56 pm

The caretaker boss revealed players are being put off from moving to Fratton Park as uncertainty surrounding the club continues.

Whittingham explained one recruit lined up for a weekend move fell through in the wake of the recent swathe of departures.

Seven players left the Blues last week, leaving barely a shell of a squad.

Paul Benson, Lubomir Michalik, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Lee Williamson, Jon Harley, Brian Howard and Mustapha Dumbuya have all departed.

That leaves 13 players to call upon at present – after Whittingham promoted development squad players Jed Wallace and Dan Butler to the first-team fray.

The boss knows the problems affecting the club are impacting on his search for critically important recruits.

But he vowed his staff are working hard on landing additions and will push on with their search.

Whittingham said: ‘We have lost players because of the situation we are in.

‘They seemed very interested at first but then when they hear bits in the press about other players going, they aren’t sure it’s the right place to go. That’s how tough it is.

‘We were hoping to get one more in before Saturday. That didn’t come off.

‘Hopefully we can resurrect that this week. How soon it will be, I don’t know.

‘The staff are talking about this option and that option.

‘Some are saying we’ll go and have conversations with him and others about him.

‘We do it all the time. One thing’s for sure – we won’t stop trying.

‘There will be a few triallists around this week. We are putting calls in all the time.’

Whittingham expects there to be takers for those who have departed from Pompey in recent days.

Sides are lining up to land loan striker Benson from Swindon – with Cheltenham leading the way, while Bradford and Crawley are also keen.

Michalik is expected to move abroad, while Harley is weighing up a possible role coaching at Chelsea.

Howard underwent a hernia operation yesterday which is likely to hinder his efforts to join another club.

The success of the departing players this season has been varied but Whittingham feels they have not had a fair chance to show their ability.

He said: ‘They have left. One or two have clubs, so there is no point in them being here.

‘It’s not easy because we’ve not had a chance to work with them properly.

‘We haven’t been able to see them at their best because of our situation.

‘People say they should be able to go out and give their all for 90 minutes. That’s right.

‘You are at a club where everything off the pitch is so important.

‘If it’s not right off the pitch, it won’t be right on it.’