Guy calls for calm amid Pompey expectations

Guy Whittingham takes Pompey training yesterday    Picture: Allan Hutchings
Guy Whittingham takes Pompey training yesterday Picture: Allan Hutchings
Pompey celebrate Brett Pitman's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Southend 0 – Neil Allen’s match report

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Guy Whittingham has urged caution from Pompey fans as the attempt to escape League Two got under way.

The Blues yesterday returned for the start of training for a season that many bookies are backing them to win promotion at the first attempt.

There is also a degree of expectancy of success among some of the Fratton faithful, buoyed by the new ownership and the signing of 14 players this summer.

Whittingham, though, is keen supporters remain grounded when it comes to the campaign, which kicks off against Oxford a month tomorrow.

A completely overhauled squad of 22 were joined by triallists Michael Bryan and Ryan Bird in training at the St John’s College pitches yesterday.

It’s an eagerly-anticipated season, with more than 7,600 Pompey season tickets already sold – but Whittingham has called for realism.

The Blues boss said: ‘This squad have got to gel together and, if you look at League Two now, there are a few players signing for different clubs which are raising our eyebrows.

‘I notice Oxford United have made one or two interesting signings, I believe Plymouth are signing a few now and there is Chesterfield, of course.

‘Fleetwood are also paying for a few players.

‘It is League Two and people are saying that we are a big club in League Two – well, we are.

‘But there are other teams who want to get promoted out of this division as well and it is not going to be simple. Success for us is just making sure this football club is run properly.

‘I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to get promoted. If you are in a football club, especially being manager, and you are not hoping to get promoted I think there is something wrong.

‘We all want to be successful but, along with that, we have got to make sure we do it right.

‘We have to make sure the fans have a good experience coming here, that they see a football team out there giving their all and they are happy with their overall experience, whether it be the game on the pitch, the seat they are in, the drink and food they can buy, the toilets they use.

‘Everything like that is important.

‘As we are community-based, we have got to show we are trying our best to make it a good experience for them.

‘As a character, I am quite realistic about things and there are lots of things I would love to be able to do, but obviously we cannot because of certain restrictions on us.

‘However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do as best as you possibly can do with the facilities and the financial back-up you’ve got.’

Yesterday also saw Pompey’s Academy coach Alan McLoughlin involved in taking first-team training.

In addition, the five members of the development group were also included in the 22-strong Blues squad.