Paul Robinson has reassured Jack Whatmough a cruciate knee ligament injury will not impact on his footballing future.
Whatmough is continuing his rehabilitation from the problem he picked up in March against Cheltenham.
With me I went to push off and run for a ball and my knee went one way and then went the other and I tore the ligamentPaul Robinson
It’s a long road to fitness heading towards Christmas – and one Robinson can fully empathise with.
The 33-year-old himself sustained such an injury while on Millwall duty at Norwich in November 2003.
At the time he was aged 21 with only 27 first-team appearances to his name.
Today Robinson totals 412 matches and 25 goals, having returned from the injury a year later.
And he has every belief his fellow centre-back can follow suit.
He said: ‘Jack’s a young lad with a very bright future.
‘He is a pleasure to play alongside and is working incredibly hard getting fit from his injury. I’ve no doubt he will pick up where he left off.
‘I have been there myself with the same kind of injury and know how difficult it is because you are in the team and doing well then all of a sudden have a long time out.
‘The one thing you have got at that age is the real hunger and the real desire to get back playing and I am sure he will throw all that into his rehab.
‘With me I went to push off and run for a ball and my knee went one way and then went the other and I tore the ligament.
‘It is an easy one to do in a sense and that was the season we got to the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
‘It didn’t affect me. I will keep impressing that on Jack whenever I see him in the gym or feel he needs picking up.
‘I will hopefully try to keep his spirits up, as I am sure other lads will to help him out in a difficult period.
‘He seems to have been fine. Those summer months when nobody is really around were probably difficult, but once all the lads are back in it helps.
‘Before he knows it Christmas will be here and he will be back out on the pitch with the rest of us.’
In Whatmough’s continued absence, Paul Cook has moved to strengthen his defence with the signing of Christian Burgess.
In addition, Adam Webster has signed a new two-year deal following his eye-catching end to the campaign.
Robinson added: ‘The manager has been bringing in players and there is competition for places everywhere.
‘I have to make sure I keep my standards up and am ready for Portsmouth.
‘Webbo had a tough season but then came in for the final four matches and did really well, it looked like his natural position.
‘I think he is happier there, I was pleased for him, he had found it tough and it was nice for him to finish the season the way he did.
‘I’m sure we will now see plenty more of him over the next few years – as we will of Jack.’