Guy Whittingham has admitted for the first time that he is one day keen to become Pompey manager – just not yet.
The joint caretaker boss ruled himself out of the process at an early stage but support for his permanent appointment is starting to grow in the wake of the club’s improved recent results.
Pompey’s pursuit of a new manager to replace Steve Cotterill is now set to enter a third week with no announcement expected before tomorrow’s trip to Derby.
But the plot thickened yesterday afternoon as Burnley boss Eddie Howe’s odds plummeted to make him the new favourite for the job ahead of Sean O’Driscoll.
With two wins from three games in charge, Whittingham and Stuart Gray have done a fine job so far.
And if results continue to go well, the duo will surely gain more fan backing, while the club’s owners may consider leaving the pair in charge.
Whittingham said: ‘I warned myself right at the start not to get too excited, no matter what happened and I’ve had the same warnings from my family!
‘It’s great that results are going quite well and Stuart and I are happy to keep it going for as long as it’s required.
‘I don’t think I can say that I will never go into management but at the moment, I think I need a bit more experience of working in a first-team environment. That’s all it is.
‘I don’t think there is a part of the job that I don’t like. I think it will just come with experience.’
Whittingham spent two successful spells as a player at the club and was also assistant manager to Steve Claridge back in 2000-01.
And he admits that his affinity with Pompey is a key factor in his belief that he is not yet ready for the job.
He said: ‘If it was a club lower down the leagues, if it was not as big a club as this or wasn’t a club so close to my heart, then it might be a different answer.
‘But this is a club that really needs to be taken on by someone that’s got the experience to do it.
‘I have my own views on the type of person that would be ideal for this club but I will keep that private and let the owners and chief executive do their job. They know what is needed here.’
Howe – who spent an injury-ravaged period at the club from 2002-04 – quit Bournemouth for Burnley last season.
But the 33-year-old’s odds tumbled from 12/1 to 2/1 as bookmakers took a steady stream of bets yesterday.
A spokesman for bookmaker Stan James confirmed that ‘a large sum of money had been placed from the Bournemouth region’ while The Betting Room called the betting interest in Howe ‘persistent and consistent’.