Whittingham finalises Pompey training ground shortlist

Guy Whittingham, second left, and Andy Awford, centre, take a closer look at the Playfootball facilities at Roko last week with Dan Butler and Jed Wallace, far right. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13118-816)
Guy Whittingham, second left, and Andy Awford, centre, take a closer look at the Playfootball facilities at Roko last week with Dan Butler and Jed Wallace, far right. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13118-816)
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Guy Whittingham has revealed Pompey’s training ground shortlist has been finalised.

But the caretaker boss admits he is not focussing purely on locations on the island.

The Blues have been encouraged by the number of site offers coming in since lodging their intent to quit Eastleigh at the end of the month.

The News understands HMS Collingwood has already made a favourable impression, yet represents just one of the options.

Roko, however, has been discounted, despite sister business PlayFootball stepping forward last week.

Pompey have concerns over whether the two existing 11-a-side pitches at the Copnor Road venue are in an appropriate condition for training purposes.

In the meantime, the University of Portsmouth remains a definite no-go having given no indication of producing a U-turn on their decision not to work with the club.

Whittingham’s checklist for a would-be training ground includes a gym, canteen, space to store groundstaff equipment and to cater for the physio and analysts.

And he believes he is closing in on the answer ahead of January 31 – when they will move out of Eastleigh.

He said: ‘There is a shortlist and it is getting shorter but it’s not just a case of seeing someone and saying “yes we can go there”.

‘People are being very, very generous towards us but we want to make sure, wherever we go, it has as little effect as possible on those who are going there.

‘We’ve got to make sure there’s somewhere to eat, somewhere for the physio, there’s a gym, the pitches are good and there’s somewhere to store the groundsman’s stuff. There are a lot of things.

‘It’s just trying to find that whole picture for the right place to go.

‘You cannot drive somewhere, get out of the car having changed at Fratton and go and play a bit of football then get back into your car and go to Fratton again. It’s a little bit more than that.

‘On the island would be preferable, it’s what everybody wants.

‘But we just want to make sure we have the right facilities as close to the city as we possibly can.

‘There has to be a canteen, sports people need to eat the right type of food, especially when you are playing professional sport, we want to make sure we’ve got those facilities.

‘There have to be facilities to hold the machines needed for the upkeep of the ground.

‘We need to make sure there is a gym available and an area you can exercise before training and after training.

‘Players just don’t go and do a load of bodyweights or work on a treadmill, it is a lot more complex than that now.

‘We are members of David Lloyd already, so that is always available to us.

‘But what you try to get on site are the basic ones you need.

‘There’s the physio room and the analysts’ room.

‘Players like to look up their stats and at their game to see what they did well and can improve well, that needs to be where the players are based as well.

‘I don’t think hiring Portakabins and putting them elsewhere is possible, not in this short amount of time before the end of the season.

‘It is imperative we get somewhere as good as possible until the end of the season and then look beyond that.

‘We are pretty confident. We don’t see any reason why we can’t do it before the end of January.

‘There are lots of people bending over backwards to help us out, so we are pretty sure we’ll get somewhere, it’s just making sure we look at all options.’