Whittingham confident of Rocha extending stay

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Ricardo Rocha will become the next player to pledge his short-term future to Pompey.

Guy Whittingham is convinced the veteran defender will not walk out when his contract ends this weekend.

The anticipated January player exodus has occurred – among them Izale McLeod and Lubomir Michalik who turned down the chance to stay.

This week, however, Simon Eastwood and Liam Walker renewed their one-month contracts.

And next up is Rocha, who rejoined Pompey for an initial month on November 17.

The Fratton favourite has made six appearances during his third spell with the club.

Caretaker boss Whittingham was responsible for bringing the ex-Portuguese international back. And he is confident Rocha – who earlier this season had interested Leeds following a trial – will be remaining.

‘The players get a week’s notice that we want to take them back on,’ said Whittingham.

‘Ricardo has got his letter and not got back to us yet but I’m not expecting any surprises with him.

‘He knows how much he is wanted here – not just by the staff but by the football club and the fans.

‘He is exactly the type of person we need to build this football team around.

‘No he hasn’t cemented another month with us yet but we are not expecting anything.

‘I am sure Ricardo would have said something if there were any problems.

‘I think he is enjoying being back playing football, especially at this club.

‘It was a surprise to him that he was almost involved immediately in the first game but he has thoroughly enjoyed his games with us.

‘Obviously you enjoy it more if you win but we are striving for that and he is out training every single day.

‘He had his injury but he would have played last Saturday (against Notts County). He is ready to go.

‘Ricardo’s performances have been what we expect of him, really.

‘He gives a bit of calmness, defends the area very well and he and Gabor (Gyepes) have been a good partnership.’

Aside from Rocha, of the current 14-man squad – which also includes new QPR loan addition Frankie Sutherland – the contracts of Gyepes, Darel Russell and Johnny Ertl expire at the end of the month.

For now, though, there are no more exits anticipated.

Whittingham added: ‘No more players have said they are going to leave.

‘We are hoping the core of players we have are the ones who will take us through to the end of the season and also look forward after that.

‘We are not only trying to do build a squad that can get us to the end of the season.

‘We want a group of players who can be the core of the squad to go and press on with next season.’