Boss delighted with strike combination

David Conolly, left, and Patrick Agyemang, centre, have impressed for the Blues
David Conolly, left, and Patrick Agyemang, centre, have impressed for the Blues
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Sol Campbell on his return to Fratton Park in December. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Guy Whittingham is ready to put his faith in the strike partnership of Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly next season.

The caretaker Pompey boss is expected to be confirmed as the club’s permanent manager this week.

He should then be given the green light to start contract negotiations with players for next season.

While he has made it clear he wants to keep most of the squad together, high on his list of priorities will be the forward pair who were outstanding in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

Whittingham has seen what he believes is the makings of a prolific partnership starting to develop between the duo.

He said: ‘I think people have seen how that partnership can work for us going forward.

‘They have both got different attributes but they work well together and you can see they have got an understanding going.’

Connolly, a former Southampton striker, was signed back in January to replace Izale McLeod.

The 35-year-old free agent has since answered any doubters in style with a healthy return of seven goals in 17 appearances.

His display against Sheffield United also showed that there is plenty left in the tank, even if he will be 36 years old when next season rolls around.

For Agyemang, meanwhile, his confidence has returned with a run of games and the belief and backing from his manager and fans.

The 32-year-old has scored only twice in 14 appearances but is playing a key role.

He is a free agent when his contract with Stevenage expires in the summer.

Whittingham said: ‘I thought Pat was superb against Sheffield United.

‘He had a great game for us, he holds the ball up so well but he’s not just that big striker up front to challenge for things.

‘He has that ability on the ball to bring other players into play.

‘Then we saw the way David took his goal and his all-round performance.

‘That is why he has had the career that he’s had and why he is still scoring goals.

‘It was a quality bit of striker’s play that he just delayed his run to the near post a fraction to allow Jed Wallace to pick him out with a great ball and put it away.’

Whittingham brought off Agyemang in the closing stages to ensure a standing ovation from the Pompey fans would help underline his case to the new chairman and chief executive.

The Blues boss added: ‘One of the reasons I brought him off was so that the fans sang “sign him up”. So I was looking up at the board when they were singing that.

‘I hope they took the hint!

‘Pat has been pretty consistent over the past eight or nine games and has led the line along with David fantastically well for us.

‘It’s a good combination. It just works well.’