Pompey boss throws down gauntlet

David Connolly is sent off. Picture: Barry Zee

David Connolly is sent off. Picture: Barry Zee

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Guy Whittingham has admitted there are no assurances top scorer David Connolly will walk back into his starting line-up.

Connolly will tomorrow serve the second match of a three-game ban following his first-half dismissal in the 2-0 defeat to Chesterfield.

Johnny Ertl had to make do with a place on the bench for Pompey’s 2-2 draw at Mansfield.

Romain Padovani’s impressive run of form kept the skipper out of the team on his return from suspension.

And Whittingham has laid down the gauntlet to strikers Tom Craddock and Ryan Bird as they look to profit from Connolly’s ban.

He said: ‘I’m not one of those who says if you’ve got a winning side on a Saturday and your best player is off the pitch – you put him straight back in.

‘Whether that is David Connolly or whether that is Johnny Ertl like last time at Mansfield, if players are playing well it is a case of – do you keep them on?

‘If you keep a clean sheet, do you keep the back five together?

‘We are all responsible for defending and we are all responsible for scoring the goals, so it doesn’t worry me changing sides.

‘We’ll look at the next game and see how we’ve done against Burton and see how the opposition play.

‘We will judge each game as it comes.’

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