Joy for Maloney - but heartbreak for other Pompey youngsters

Youngster Jack Maloney has been prompted to the Pompey first team as is in the squad for the visit of Bury tomorrow
Youngster Jack Maloney has been prompted to the Pompey first team as is in the squad for the visit of Bury tomorrow

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It has been a week of delight and despair for Pompey’s youngsters as Guy Whittingham begins to plot the future.

Jack Maloney has been promoted into the first-team, after the left-winger impressed for the Academy.

That call-up has been tempered by the news, though, that Dan Thompson and George Colson have been told they will not be offered new deals next year.

The first-year professionals, who are currently on loan at Bognor and Bashley respectively, must now find new clubs this summer.

In addition, the future of Elliot Wheeler is in the balance as Whittingham mulls over whether he can offer him terms.

In the meantime, Maloney goes straight into the first-team squad for tomorrow’s visit of Bury.

And Whittingham believes the Isle of Wight youngster, who made his debut as a substitute in the Capital One Cup at Plymouth in August, deserves his chance to impress.

Whittingham said: ‘Jack made an impression last season in the Academy, doing well, and has made an impression this season as well.

‘He probably hasn’t pushed on as much as he probably wanted or Andy Awford and Paul Hardyman wanted, but he has still got something about him.

‘We had a brief glance of him at Plymouth and I know Michael Appleton liked him. He’s a young kid with a future ahead of him if he wants it.’

‘Unfortunately, we have said to Dan (Thompson) and George (Colson) they need to look for another club. We are in a position where we won’t be able to keep them for another year.

‘It isn’t a nice thing to do, they are two young kids, but I think it is better to tell them now so they know.

‘If you were in a position where we were a League One club with an average spend you might be able to just keep them for another year.

‘But next season we are not going to be able to carry many people we don’t think are going to make it into the first-team as in pros, apart from the first-years obviously.’

The jury effectively remains out on right-back Wheeler, who has recently returned following a three-month loan with Bashley.

His time there was hampered by injury and Whittingham is continuing to weigh up his future.

He added: ‘Elliot has had a few injuries. He hasn’t had a run of games where he has played in good form because his season has been a bit stop/start.

‘We have said to him we are not sure whether we can or not because of the budget at the moment and how far we can push it to keep him on.

‘It’s in the balance and I talked to him yesterday morning, he’s okay with it.

‘He wants to know if he can go out on loan in case we don’t.

‘I am happy with that. I don’t want him not to go anywhere in the belief he is going to be in the first-team squad next season – and then we cannot do a deal.’