Fitness not results behind Pompey focus

Jack Whatmough felt Pompey got a good workout against Stevenage. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough felt Pompey got a good workout against Stevenage. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Jack Whatmough is adamant Pompey’s pre-season remains on track, despite a maiden defeat.

The Blues slipped to a 3-2 defeat at League Two Stevenage on Saturday during their third summer friendly.

Gareth Evans had given Kenny Jackett’s side the lead at the Lamex Stadium – and although Conor Chaplin netted late on, it could not prevent a loss.

Stevenage represented a step up in quality following victories over Cork City and the Hawks in previous matches during the pre-season schedule.

On this occasion, Pompey fell short, although had some glorious opportunities to score.

But Whatmough, starting his first friendly of the summer in place of Christian Burgess, is adamant the necessity for fitness ensures results are not crucial.

He said: ‘Saturday was about fitness. Nobody likes losing, that is a known fact in football, we went there wanting to get a result.

‘It wasn’t to be, but it was good to improve the minutes in the boys. It’s important we are fit and working hard, then things will come.

‘We have four or five more games now until the season starts so there’s a bit of fine-tuning, things to deal with, and I think we’ll be okay.

‘Stevenage are a typical League Two team. No disrespect to them and I am not judging the way they play, but they’re long and that is what we will face next season.

‘Havant played a bit more football and so did Cork. Saturday was the sort of football we will face this season – such as long balls and second balls – and they are things we need to fine tune.

‘Everyone was disappointed to lose, but it is to do with fitness, that’s the main thing.

‘We are halfway through pre-season, the boys look fit and there’s a few weeks before the campaign starts.’

On Tuesday night, Jackett will field a Pompey XI at Gosport, with the likes of Luke McGee, Louis Dennis, Dan Smith and Matt Casey expected to feature.

Then it’s a trip to Swindon (Saturday, July 21), followed by matches against Brighton and then Bognor on Tuesday, July 24.

Finally the pre-season programme ends against Dutch side FC Utrecht on Saturday, July 28.

Whatmough added: ‘We are still focusing on the same thing – August 4.

‘You play games in pre-season, it’s fitness, that’s the main thing, then we will see what happens when the League One season comes around.’