Whittingham thinking long-term

Pompey caretaker boss Guy Whittinhgam
Pompey caretaker boss Guy Whittinhgam
Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks

Pompey winger set for return against Walsall

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Guy Whittingham has admitted he is open to becoming Pompey manager on a permanent basis.

But the Blues’ caretaker boss believes he would be taking on the toughest job in football.

Whittingham has spoken for the first time about the possibility of an extended role in the managerial hot seat he has filled for the past 10 games.

He has taken on the mantle of seeing Pompey through a difficult period, along with fellow former playing favourite Andy Awford.

Whittingham spoke of his pride at simply being able to guide the side he made 219 appearances for on a temporary basis.

Since becoming caretaker boss, he has had his eyes opened to the vast difficulties faced with Pompey being in administration.

The last time Whittingham was in the temporary role – with Stuart Gray in 2011 – he was not keen for the job full-time.

But despite Pompey facing even bleaker problems now, the ex-Blues striker would not be put off becoming Blues manager if the call came.

Whittingham said: ‘Unless you are in the hot seat you’ll never know how it is. Even your number two or staff don’t know the situation until you are in it.

‘I’ve picked up experience, for sure.

‘It’s the best place to learn – right in the deep end.

‘You are fighting fires all the time. Having been here for nine weeks, I know you won’t get anything tougher.

‘I’m caretaker manager at the moment. It’s a privileged position to be in and I’m very honoured to be in it.

‘If it (the permanent managerial role) comes about it comes about.

‘But the most important thing is this club survives and comes out of administration as soon as possible.’

Whittingham has been pressing on with recruitment plans this week, with the Blues currently having just 13 first-team players to call upon.

They include development squad talents Dan Butler and Jed Wallace, who have recently been promoted to the senior squad.

It’s a ridiculous situation as the management team try to prepare the team to go to Scunthorpe on Saturday.

That’s just a continuation of what has taken place in recent weeks for Pompey.

The football fraternity have voiced support for Whittingham and Awford and the difficulties faced.

Whittingham explained he has noted those who have done so.

He said: ‘You can’t plan long-term.

‘We’re trying to, though.

‘We’re trying to get players who aren’t just going to be here for the rest of the season.

‘We’re looking for players we’ve been told or advised could do a job in League One or League Two next season.

‘I’ve talked to several managers who have been supportive. I talked to Kevin Blackwell (the Bury manager) after the Walsall game.

‘He said some nice things on Sky and said some good words. So I made sure that he knew I knew. That’s important. It is tough, but managers who have been in situations a bit like this also know how tough it is.

‘You remember that.’