Are Pompey's young guns ready for battle?
By Site reporter
Tuesday 08 Jan 2013 22:11:00
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Guy Whittingham may well be forced to throw some of Pompey's youngsters into battle in the coming weeks - but he has no qualms about doing so if his hand is forced.

With Brian Howard, Jon Harley, Mustapha Dumbuya, Lee Williamson and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing all seemingly on their way out of Fratton, the chances of them all being replaced by loanees or free transfers seem slim.

That will lead to the likes of Adam Webster, Ashley Harris and Jed Walllace becoming regulars over the rest of the League One season, with the propsect of others - namely Dan Butler, Dan Thompson, Alex Grant, Elliot Wheeler and George Colson - coming into the first-team picture too.

Whittingham told The News it was not ideal having to use young players more often than might be expected, but he was confident fans would be understanding about the extent of their abilities.

He said: ‘Back when Michael Appleton was here, the idea was to get these kids out over the Christmas period and have them training with you for a while. You can get some ideas into them and then get them out on loan at non-league clubs to learn about winning and losing. That’s part of their football education.

‘That education might be accelerated because of the way things are, though. It’s not a route I want to go down and it’s not a route we should go down because a lot of the time they are not ready. We have to wait until January 15 and whenever the court case is after that. It might then go back to a situation where we may have to use more of those players.

‘We finished the game at Swindon with Jed (Wallace) and Adam Webster, while Ashley (Harris) came off for the last five minutes. What you don’t want to do is have a lot of them on the pitch at one time. I’m not worried from the point of view of the fans not taking to them because, of course, they will. Those players will give it all they’ve got.’

At least Whittingham's defensive options for the forseeable future will include Hungarian Gabor Gyepes.

The 31-year-old has signed a new one-month deal - ending worries he would leave if he found a 'better option'.

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