Waddock tells young guns to go for it

Adam May. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam May. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gary Waddock promised to continue showcasing Pompey’s emerging talent over the season’s finale.

The Blues caretaker boss is planning to use his side’s injury problems as the platform to promote the club’s young guns.

Saturday’s 1-0 loss to promotion-chasing Bury saw Fratton teenager Ben Close handed his full league debut.

On top of that, Academy midfielder Adam May saw his first senior minutes in the second half, along with striker Conor Chaplin gaining more pitch time.

An array of injury problems presented that opportunity as Waddock named six substitutes instead of the maximum seven.

James Dunne aired concerns about his knee on the morning of the game to add to an ankle injury for loanee Paul McCallum.

On top of the existing problems and loanee Cole Kpekawa’s expected return to QPR, that meant playing time for the young talents.

And Waddock believes continuing to do so can give Blues fans cause for optimism at the end of a miserable campaign.

He said: ‘Will there be a chance to show the fans what we have coming through? Yes! That’s an easy answer!

‘Dunney was due to play, but the physio got a call this morning saying he doesn’t feel quite right.

‘I had a conversation with him at the ground and we thought it wasn’t the right thing to do to play him.

‘He felt his knee slightly. It’s no great concern so we decided it wasn’t a risk we’d take.

‘He got a kick on his ankle and twisted it.

‘I asked him if I had to put him on after five minutes how would he cope with it?

‘He was very honest with me and we decided he shouldn’t be involved.

‘He’s been about but we are talking to QPR.

‘There will probably be some news on that soon.

‘But we have some good young players here and the supporters will be able to see that.’

Waddock took solace from Pompey’s first-half performance against David Flitcroft’s side, but felt they then lost their way.

He felt the players have responded well, though, after a testing week following Andy Awford’s exit.

Waddock said: ‘It’s been a difficult week and we haven’t had too much time to change the way we play.

‘The players have taken it on board and, for most of the first half, we played well.

‘Their players called it a smash and grab.

‘If you look at the possession stats we had, I thought we did well in the first half.

‘We could and should have been able to up the tempo in the middle and final third of the pitch in the second half.

‘But you have to give credit to Bury over how they managed the game.

‘We’ve only had a few days to change the play, so you have to be realistic.We have two more games to go and I’m looking forward to both of them.’

‘Considering how well we played in the first half to concede how we did was very, very disappointing.

‘But overall I don’t want to be over critical towards the players because they have given their all in the two games I’ve been in charge for.’