Jack Whatmough has timed his run to perfection. Again.
Last season the central defender emerged from nowhere to stiffen the backbone of Pompey’s League Two title conquest.
He has now repeated his remarkable punctuality to coincide a return from injury with a late surge towards the League One play-offs.
Since forcing his way back into Kenny Jackett’s line-up following knee surgery, Whatmough has been involved in five wins and a draw.
Certainly reminiscent of four appearances and one goal in the productive final eight matches under Paul Cook a year earlier.
On that occasion, his input assisted the Blues in winning promotion to League One.
It was easily the best moment I’ve had in football, easilyJack Whatmough
Now the 21-year-old is driving them towards the proposition of Championship football, albeit through the play-offs.
Whatmough said: ‘I just turn up for the finish of seasons, don’t I!
‘It’s great to have a strong finish to the end of a campaign and, no matter what happens, if we don’t go up this year then we can build on that.
‘I remember last year, Tom Davies and myself were playing for the reserves and doing really well. The gaffer was saying to us “it’s hard to pick between you which one plays”.
‘Eventually the gaffer brought both of us in and said “Jack is doing well at the moment, it’s hard for me to take him out” – then I played at Notts County with Clarkie injured.
‘That was the game which got us promoted and that is a day which will stick with me for the rest of my career.
‘It was easily the best moment I’ve had in football, easily. You can go say Cheltenham on the last day but for me it was Notts County,
‘That was the end of four years of being in League Two and suffering. They were difficult days for the club and to finally know you have been promoted was a massive achievement over the two years Paul Cook was here.
‘I didn’t play against Cheltenham. Possibly, if I had, my emotions would have been higher for the match.
‘But I played at Meadow Lane and the celebrations after that for the next five days were amazing. It was a massive day for the club, the fans and every single player who has been here.’
Whatmough has made 63 appearances and scored once since earning his Blues bow in November 2013 against Southend.
The Gosport lad has endured two serious knee injuries along the way, yet can never be written off, as proven by his current first-team spell.
He returned from injury around a month ahead of schedule to break into the side as a member of a back three against Gillingham last month.
The following match he dislodged Christian Burgess to form a central-defensive pairing with Matt Clarke – and has remained there ever since.
Whatmough added: ‘As soon as you come into this club it means something to you straight away because of the fan base here and the family set-up.
‘It’s such a nice environment to be in. I love it here and hopefully we can have another great end to the season.’