Whittingham: Craddock’s time will come

Pompey striker Tom Craddock Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey striker Tom Craddock Picture: Joe Pepler

Carl Baker scores Pompey's winner against Mansfield Picture: Joe Pepler

Mansfield 0 Pompey 1 – Neil Allen’s match report

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John Marquis tasted relatively instant success, netting 22 minutes into his Pompey debut after emerging from the bench against York.

David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang have already scored seven times between them during the current campaign.

Then there’s Tom Craddock – a regular substitute who has endured an injury-hampered start to the season and is still to get off the goal mark.

Admittedly, marginal involvement from the ex-Middlesbrough man until this point, but Guy Whittingham is convinced over time the striker will conclusively prove his Pompey worth.

The Blues boss has already pledged to ring the changes for Rochdale this weekend, with goalkeeper John Sullivan definitely making way for Trevor Carson.

The door could also be open for the likes of Craddock and fresh loan arrival Marquis in the shake-up.

And after six substitute appearances in the league and one start in the Capital One Cup, perhaps the time has come for the 26-year-old.

‘Tom is a proven goalscorer at this level,’ said Whittingham.

‘There is a great competition for places so we have got to make sure he is in the mix because he has got something to add to this football club for sure.

‘He is a player who can play as part of a two but is also quite willing to play as the one because he is a hard worker.

‘The lad is from up north so rolls his sleeves up, gets stuck in, is quite a physical person and obviously has an eye for goal because his record tells us that.

‘At the moment we have Agyemang on three goals and Connolly on four. They are both on top of the goal charts so there is that competition and it is difficult.

‘Footballers, generally, aren’t patient. But I think Tom is one of those that once he gets his chance he will make sure he grabs it.

‘He has not played too much so far but he’s fine, he is a very sensible lad and knows there is stiff competition up front.’

Of the other strikers in the frame for tomorrow’s clash with the Dale, Connolly and Agyemang have been Whittingham’s favoured choice for obvious reasons.

Their return of 14 goals in 17 starts together is clearly an impressive one, yet since they were reunited following Connolly’s return from suspension they have struggled to shine.

Marquis is desperate for a start, having played just 24 minutes since arriving at Fratton Park on loan from Millwall a fortnight ago.

His scoring entrance at York will boost his chances as he seeks the regular first-team football he was hoping for when joining the Blues for an initial month after a frustrating time at The Den.

And Craddock also will be desperate to make that breakthrough.

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