Whittingham eyeing success over ex-striking rival

Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders
Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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Guy Whittingham is tomorrow craving to finally get one over on the former team-mate who left him on the sidelines.

Pompey host Dean Saunders’ Doncaster Rovers at Fratton Park seeking to maintain their improved form.

For joint-caretaker manager Whittingham, it pitches him against an ex-Aston Villa team-mate.

The Blues legend left for Villa Park in a £1.2m deal in August 1993.

There he vyed with Saunders and Dalian Atkinson for a first-team striking spot.

Ultimately, that double act restricted him to just 17 Premier League starts in 15 months before leaving to join Sheffield Wednesday.

And tomorrow Whittingham is relishing meeting up with his one-time rival once again.

He said: ‘I know what type of player Dean was and I am sure he has brought that into his management style.

‘He’s bubbly, full of life and is one of those infectious characters.

‘When I got to Villa Dalian Atkinson told me ‘you’ve come to take my place’ and I said ‘no, not really, I want to compete’ and he said ‘well you’re not having my spot’.

‘So I had a tough time getting past those two – they were a great combination.

‘Although I occasionally partnered Dean in training!

‘The team was full of internationals and he was one of them, playing for Wales at the time and scoring goals.

‘I looked to learn from him and what he did, he was a great team player, never stopped running and could finish well.

‘He was one of the best I ever played with for sure.

‘I am obviously going to say Paul Walsh was at the top, but in terms of other strikers I played alongside he has got to be up there with anyone.

‘And it was through his hard work.

‘I’m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow, that’s for sure.’