Sodje an option as Blues hunt for new defender

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain is on loan at Oxford City. Picture: Sarah Standing

Pompey loan watch – weekend report

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Guy Whittingham has admitted Sam Sodje is on his radar as he continues his defensive hunt.

But the Pompey boss is also weighing up other options after Ricardo Rocha chose not to return to Fratton Park.

Sam Sodje in action for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Sam Sodje in action for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Rocha’s decision leaves the Blues a body light in terms of options at the back.

Sodje is an obvious choice, with the Nigerian defender in the Blues’ thoughts all summer.

The former Leeds man played nine times for Pompey at the end of last season and has already stated he would like to return.

Whittingham and assistant Steve Allen are still exploring all their options, however.

Whittingham said: ‘We’ve said all we’ve said with Ric.

‘We had people in mind with his situation and we have people in mind now. Sam (Sodje) is in the mix.

‘It’s got to be the right thing to do at the right time and we are exploring all of those avenues.

‘We’re exhausting all the avenues as best we can – because it has to be the right person.’

The focus turns from recruitment to the on-the-pitch action tomorrow as Pompey start their League Two campaign against Oxford at Fratton Park.

Whittingham admitted he has his starting XI in mind and will tell his players today.

But some of the positional battles have been difficult to call.

Whittingham said: ‘It’s been hard making decisions because it’s been a new squad.

‘But we pretty much know the team and the players will find out today in training.’

Whittingham has also thrown his support behind the return of the Sports Mail which hits the streets once again tomorrow tea-time.

He said: ‘The Sports Mail is an important part of culture of Pompey.

‘I remember looking forward to reading it in my playing days after a game. It will be great to see everyone get behind it now and see it stay.’