Pompey rule out Eastney return - but target new training base

Pompey could make the University of Portsmouth's Langstone Campus their new training base ' where their Academy team clinched the Youth Alliance Under-18 South-East League title last month
Pompey could make the University of Portsmouth's Langstone Campus their new training base ' where their Academy team clinched the Youth Alliance Under-18 South-East League title last month
Pompey midfielder Danny Rose. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey have ruled out continuing to use Eastney Barracks as their training home.

And The News understands the University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus is once again back on the agenda to replace it.

Eastney, which is based in Cockleshell Gardens, has served as the Blues’ training base since February after they left Eastleigh.

However, their time there was hampered by the wet weather affecting the pitches, forcing the club to switch many sessions to Fratton Park.

It was always going to be a short-term measure, though, with Pompey re-evaluating where to have their training base at the season’s end.

Guy Whittingham claims there are ‘two or three’ venues currently being considered, although is staying tight-lipped over their precise identity.

However, it is understood the favourite is the university’s Furze Lane site – an area talked about since last summer when Michael Appleton was manager.

Regardless, Whittingham is adamant there will be no return to Eastney.

He said: ‘I think there will be movement on the training ground later on this week.

‘We are looking at two or three different sites, considering the short, medium and long-term. Although I cannot name them at present.

‘We won’t be looking at Eastney Barracks, though.

‘That is down to the lack of ability to really look after how we want to look after it. Basically, there is no water supply to the pitches – unless it rains.

‘It was fantastic for them to help us out. We were caught out having to leave the training ground at Eastleigh and needed somewhere.

‘They were happy to help out and hopefully we repaid them by way of taking care of their pitches. I’d like to think it was a “thank you” for their generosity.

‘But we need to move on, we need to have an area that we can have exclusively to ourselves.

‘We cannot go and share pitches with people playing at weekends, we need to make sure it’s exclusively ours to use.

‘You need to train on quality pitches during the week and that is why we have decided to move on from Eastney.

‘I wouldn’t say we even used them a great deal, the whole time was a dozen to 15 times down there at the most. We were fortunate with the games we had we were able to train at Fratton as well.’

Furze Lane has long been earmarked as a new training home.

But the university pulled the plug on that idea in January.

They did, however, change their minds days before Pompey were due to leave Eastleigh but it was too late.

Since then, the Academy have played at the venue, capturing the Youth Alliance Under-18 South East League title there last month.

Relations have continued to improve and now the university is leading the way in Pompey’s search.

Whittingham added: ‘We have choices in the local area.

‘The two or three places in contention haven’t been looked after on a day-to-day schedule like we need them to.

‘So we have to get in there soon to get the pitches right for pre-season. Hopefully it can be sorted by the end of the week.’