CARETAKER boss Guy Whittingham laid down the law to those players looking to leave Pompey and told them: We don’t want you here.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Hartlepool, Whittingham insists he has not been told by any of his current players they are looking to leave in the January transfer window.
But there appears to be a growing feeling of unease among certain members of his squad at their lack of security, with the club’s future still yet to be resolved.
Whittingham, however, has made it clear he only wants characters who are prepared to stay and fight alongside him, with Pompey set to face a huge battle to avoid relegation from League One.
He explained: ‘Nobody has come to me to tell me they are leaving in January. We’re talking to the players and trying to reassure them that they are part of what we are trying to build here.
‘There is a future here for people who want to be here.
‘But we all know that the 10-point deduction is coming and it’s going to be tough.
‘So if they don’t want to be here and they’re not prepared to fight, then don’t stay here.
‘We can’t have people here who don’t want to fight for the fans, for the club, for the staff, for themselves and for their fellow players.’
Whittingham also pointed out some of the players may be looking to make excuses for the fact the club is in the relegation zone.
He said: ‘If they are a bit unsure of their future, is it because they don’t think they have played so well? It might be that.
‘A few have got to look in the mirror and ask “over these past six months, have I done everything I can?”
‘It’s not a case of me having a pop at the players but we have to be realistic.
‘We are where we are and we are in the bottom four.
‘You could point at the things off the pitch and the uncertainty but I don’t think it’s all about that.
‘In general, they are a good set of guys who want to work hard. There are not many characters where I think “I don’t really want him”.
‘Some of them might be frustrated but they have to remember they are very privileged in what they do – we all are. We’re doing something lots of people out there would love to do.
‘Being involved in football on a full-time basis and getting paid for it – I can think of hundreds of people who would want to change places.
‘They’ve got to remember that.’
The Blues boss added: ‘Nothing is certain at the club but the staff have been used to that situation for a lot longer than they have.
‘I’m talking about the staff at the training ground, at the ground and the part-time staff.
‘They all get on with it and I think the players should get on with it.’
Meanwhile young defender Alex Grant has joined Eastleigh on a month’s loan.