Whatmough: Pompey flourishing in system

Jack Whatmough. Pic: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough. Pic: Joe Pepler

There were questions raised over the resurrection of Pompey’s wing-backs.

But Jack Whatmough is adamant the return of the 3-5-2 system is bringing the best out of the Blues.

On Saturday, Matt Tubbs’ 60th-minute header handed Andy Awford’s side their first win in 10 matches.

It was a deserved victory for the hosts, who rarely looked threatened by rock-bottom Hartlepool.

The previous week, Awford restored three central defenders for the trip to league leaders Wycombe – and came home with a point.

The formation change has heralded the return of Whatmough to the team, operating on the left-hand side of the three.

Joe Devera replaced the injured Ben Chorley to line-up alongside Whatmough and Paul Robinson against the Pools.

And once again the teenager from Gosport was delighted with Pompey’s showing as they collected a first win since November 22 against Morecambe.

He said: ‘I didn’t know it had been that long since we last won.

‘We had a lot of chances in the first half and maybe we could have thought it would be another Wycombe where it wouldn’t go for us, but Tubbsy got the goal and it’s a great finish.

‘We weren’t getting anxious, we defended well and knew when the chance came it was finally going to go in for us and thankfully it did.

‘I thought we were brilliant, every single player put 100 per cent in and that is what you need, the crowd were behind us the whole game and the boys gave everything, everyone worked together.

‘As a back three or five – whatever way you look at it – I thought we defended really well and deserved the clean sheet, as we did at Wycombe.

‘The back three is working really well for us at the moment, let’s see if we keep it, hopefully we will because it’s working. We’ve got a lot of good centre backs at this club and a back three does benefit us.

‘I play the one on the left, hopefully I can stay in the team now, injuries have been fine so I’m looking to stay in and keep on improving.

‘We have all been working on playing as a back three with the coaching staff and showed on Saturday our roles and responsibilities are paying off now.

‘Whatever system we play, the thing we need to get right is our roles and responsibilities and the gaffer, Wads (Gary Waddock) and Hards (Paul Hardyman) have drilled that into us.

‘We know what we are doing and are putting it into play and looking a good side.’

It had been a long wait for the Fratton faithful, but victory lifted them into 16th spot, a difference of five points from the relegation zone.

The fans’ drive for the return of the Wall of Noise made for an atmospheric start to the match with renditions of ‘Blue Army’.

And Whatmough believes it had the desired effect on the Pompey players.

He added: ‘The fans were really good, they got right behind us, as they did against Hartlepool last year and I think they got us through the game.

‘It’s just nice to get three points whether at home or away, it made for a good Saturday.’