Kenny Jackett hailed Jack Whatmough’s dedication and professionalism after he came through the festive period unscathed.
The defender was involved in every minute of Pompey’s five games in 15 days.
He played a key role as the Blues retained their place at the top of League One and marched into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Earlier in the season, Whatmough was rested at Accrington, with Christian Burgess coming into Pompey’s starting line-up.
That’s because Jackett didn’t want to risk the 22-year-old completing three games in a week, after battling back from a third serious knee injury last campaign.
The Blues boss no longer has that mindset, though, and allowed Whatmough to clock up 450 minutes in quick succession.
And Jackett reckons the Gosport-born centre-back was able to do so because of his work-rate.
The manager said: ‘We are really pleased with Jack.
‘We’re pleased with his performances and the way that he’s come through so far.
‘Five in 15 games is a credit to him. He just has to be as dedicated as he is because he is quite a mature lad for his age.
‘Jack has been playing for some years since he was 17.
‘He’s now put all of that experience to good use and helped him in the groove that he’s in.
‘Preparation and fitness have been the key to that and I’m sure the football will look after itself.
‘We all know he has very good ability and is still a relatively young player.
‘It’s been a good season for him so far and long may it continue. His fitness and professionalism have been key to that.
‘For him to complete five games in 15 days is a credit to him for the work he has done, how hard he has worked and his dedication because it doesn’t happen by accident.’
After spending more than six months on the sidelines last season, Whatmough has been a regular in Pompey’s starting line-up this campaign.
He’s made 25 appearances so far and formed a superb partnership alongside Matt Clarke in central defence.
Jackett quipped superstition often stops him from mentioning Whatmough’s past setbacks.
But staying in a routine has allowed the academy graduate to feature so prominently this term.
‘It’s funny how superstition stops you from mentioning it sometimes,’ added Jackett.
‘That sounds ridiculous but it’s true.
‘I’ve spoken to Jack a lot about trying to stay in the playing routine.
‘He feels that he has lost a little bit of weight and he is in very good condition physically.
‘That’s helped him cope with the games and put him in very good form because he has played well.’