Whittingham calls for wantaway players to perform in front of cameras

Scott Allan's Pompey's loan spell is nearly up
Scott Allan's Pompey's loan spell is nearly up

want-away players have been urged to produce a star turn on tonight’s Sky stage to earn themselves a move from Pompey.

That’s the call from Guy Whittingham ahead of the televised fixture at Walsall.

The Blues have now gone 13 matches without a win in all competitions and lost 5-0 at Swindon in their most recent match on New Year’s Day.

Tonight will mark the final game of Scott Allan’s existing Fratton Park loan spell, while many of his team-mates are also out of contract in the weeks ahead.

Izale McLeod has already followed Luke Rodgers, Josh Thompson and Jack Compton through the exit door.

Others are expected to follow as they seek to earn permanent contracts elsewhere.

And Whittingham believes it will be mutually beneficial if those with such intentions sparkled for his team in front on the cameras at the Banks’s Stadium tonight.

He said: ‘If I was out there, I would be thinking “I’m on Sky so if I want to go somewhere else, I need to show it”.

‘Anybody can walk away, it’s live on TV and there will be lots of people watching.

‘If they want to come and get one of our players, what better place to watch it?

‘They would not make a decision on that one game – you don’t do that as a football coach, you watch players for a while.

‘But it can have a big influence.

‘So for the game to be on Sky is a great opportunity for all of the players to show what they can do.

‘It’s ideal for all of them, whether they are thinking of staying or going.’

Pompey will face a Walsall side with three wins from their past four matches, including a 1-0 victory over Stevenage on New Year’s Day.

Before then, Dean Smith’s men went 16 games without a win in all competitions.

Currently in 16th place in the League One table, they are 11 points above Pompey, who currently occupy the final place in the relegation zone.

It is another crucial fixture for the Blues, who will once again be without the injured trio of Ricardo Rocha, Gabor Gyepes and Brian Howard. However, Paul Benson returns, having been ineligible to take on his parent club Swindon three days ago.

And Whittingham admits it’s time the players started proving themselves.

He added: ‘The other thing you have got to think about is “actually, lads, we are in the bottom four”.

‘I can understand you thinking about security but we are in the bottom four so nobody has pulled up any trees here.’

Meanwhile, Pompey’s trip to Hartlepool has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 12 (7.45pm).

The fixture had been scheduled to take place on December 22 but was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.