Blues happy to wait for defender

Ricardo Rocha has been told he can take his time to decide his future

Ricardo Rocha has been told he can take his time to decide his future

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Catlin: Pompey right to stay patient in player hunt

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Ricardo Rocha has been told: There’s no rush to decide your future.

Guy Whittingham has refused to put a deadline on hearing from the defender over his Pompey destiny.

The Blues boss insists there is no pressure on the 34-year-old to come to a decision over whether he’s returning to Fratton Park next season.

That’s despite Whittingham’s men reporting back for pre-season training on Monday after two days of fitness tests.

The ex-Pompey striker spoke of the ‘unique situation’ surrounding fans’ favourite Rocha and his circumstances.

The pair remain good friends from their time working together at Fratton Park.

Rocha met Whittingham for an informal chat over coffee last week. But little has developed regarding the Portuguese’s future, as Pompey bid to put the finishing touches to their squad for the new campaign.

Whittingham is remaining relaxed about the issue, however, and is happy to plough on with his preparations for the season in other departments.

He said: ‘Nothing’s changed and I’m not waiting to hear from Ric.

‘I’m getting on with things I need to get on with.

‘Ric knows that and if he wants to come and join us then that’s fantastic.

‘He knows we’re getting on with things and I know where he is.

‘He’s a friend as much as a football player and I’m not going to put him in a position where I need to have a decision.

‘I’m going to leave things like that and if he contacts me, he contacts me.

‘I’m not going to force him into anything or get an answer from him.

‘I’m not waiting to hear from him next week. Nothing has changed.

‘There’s no scenario where we have to look somewhere else.

‘It’s a unique situation. He’s such a good player and friend that we don’t have to wait to look elsewhere.

‘There’s less of a situation with Ric than there is with anyone else.’

Pompey are looking to triallists as they begin work for the new campaign at St John’s College playing fields next week.

Non-league hot-shot Ryan Bird and former Watford winger Michael Bryan are set to be new faces among the rest of the squad as preparations for the new season begin in earnest after two days of fitness tests.

The duo are bidding to be names to be added to the 14 signings Pompey have already made, as the club build a squad to attempt to bounce out of League Two at the first attempt.

One player who won’t be present, however, is Shaun Cooper.

Cooper is a free agent after a loan stay at Pompey towards the end of last season.

Whittingham said: ‘Nothing has moved on with that one.’

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