Pompey youngster earns Thompson praise

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler
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They were two casualties of Pompey’s deflating defeat in the play-off bout with Charlton Athletic.

Jack Whatmough and Nathan Thompson didn’t reappear after the break as injury claimed both.

Nathan Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Nathan Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

While a dead leg has Thompson struggling to declare himself available for Saturday’s trip to Bury, his defensive colleague had grimmer news.

The 21-year-old will not play again this season following a groin problem, finishing a nine-game stretch in Kenny Jackett’s first-team line-up.

It’s a blow to Whatmough, who returned from knee surgery ahead of schedule to feature at the tail end of this season.

But Thompson has clearly been impressed by the central defensive contribution of Gosport youngster.

And he recognises the talent possessed by a player whose experience defies his age.

He said: ‘Jack has been fantastic. You saw that at the start of the season, it was a big blow for us when he got injured back then, despite Burge being superb as well.

‘When fit, we’ve got real competition in the centre-half positions and that can only be good for the team.

‘For a 21-year-old, Jack talks, he wins all his headers, and both he and Matt Clarke are so composed on the ball coming out from the back, it gives us a real platform.

‘The experience the pair possess for their age is incredible.

‘Wigan’s Will Grigg and James Vaughan have been around and are very experienced strikers, yet they were handled really, really well and that can only be a positive sign moving forward.’

In total, Whatmough made 16 appearances this season until injury intervened in that 1-0 Charlton defeat.

His central-defensive partnership with Clarke yielded four clean sheets in eight outings, rightfully earning plaudits.

The door is now open for Christian Burgess once more, following his omission at the hands of Whatmough in mid-March.

The 26-year-old is in the frame to resurrect his double act with Clarke over the remaining two fixtures – Bury and Peterborough.

Meanwhile, Thompson is battling to overcome his dead leg and resume right-back duties.

Pompey are already without Anton Walkes, who could serve as an alternative, while Brandon Haunstrup switched over from left-back against the Addicks.