JACK WHATMOUGH is ‘good to go’ for Pompey’s League Two opener.
And Paul Cook expects the defender to play a major role as the Blues open the campaign against Carlisle at Fratton Park.
Whatmough is in line to get the nod against the Cumbrians, after limping off against Bristol City last weekend.
That will be the 19-year-old’s second league start since picking up a cruciate knee injury against Cheltenham 17 months ago.
Cook praised the Gosport talent for the commitment and graft he’s delivered in pre-season.
The challenge for him will be to lay down a marker when he gets his chance.
Cook said: ‘The important thing for Jack was always going to be pre-season after being out for so long.
‘He’s had a smashing pre-season. He looks fit, strong and good to go.
‘I’m sure he’ll have a big part to play tomorrow.
‘Jack’s really taken his chance well, if you like.
‘We’ve got a healthy squad who are all working hard for each other.
‘Whoever gets selected gets first chance.’
Cook confirmed Whatmough was taken off as a precaution last week when feeling his hamstring at Ashton Gate.
The England under-19 international has been training this week, however, without an issue.
Cook added: ‘Jack was playing well until he came off when he felt his hammie.
‘He’s come through that okay. He’s doing well.
‘We have good options. We’re delighted with Adam Barton who can play centre-half, as our fans have seen.
‘Tom Davies has just been set back a week or two by having a bit of a back problem.’
– JORDAN CROSS