Portsmouth set Jack Whatmough a match target

Kenny Jackett revealed Jack Whatmough has been set an appearance target as Pompey seek to get the best out of the defender.

The 22-year-old is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury and expected to also miss Saturday’s trip to Peterborough.

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Andrew Fosker

It’s yet more bad luck for the central defender, who has begun the campaign in fine form after edging ahead of Christian Burgess.

Burgess has impressed in Whatmough’s absence, although a mistake in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury overshadowed his recent encouraging displays.

In the meantime, Jackett is hopeful of handing the Gosport youngster a sustained period of games throughout the season.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Jack’s not too bad. It’s a grade one hamstring and I don’t think he will make Peterborough, it will more likely be the week after.

‘That’s how it is. I am sure he would want a completely injury-free season, it will be interesting how many games he can play.

‘Bobby Bacic (head physio) and myself have to talked to Jack. We’ve had meetings to target a set amount of games this year so we can really get the best out of him – and he’s capable of that.

‘We are trying to look after him. It’s funny because those three injuries against Plymouth came when we’d had a free week for the first time in a while.

‘We are scratching our heads sometimes exactly why this happens (to all players).

‘Jack is a good player and very good lad. We would want to maximise his game time this year.

‘The game target is not one I am going to say, internally we do those things, set certain targets to make sure he can look towards that.

‘And, most importantly, us staff do everything we can to give him the chance to do it.’

Anton Walkes is also absent for Pompey at present with a groin problem.

The right-back collected the injury during the same first half which claimed Whatmough.

But Jackett is confident the Blues can avoid the injury headache which devastated team selection during the second half of last season.

He added: ‘We look at ourselves, our training, our game time, our weight training, our pitches.

‘We must make sure we take responsibility and do everything we can to avoid injuries.

‘But then there is a balance. You have to push people and the standards have to be high.

‘You will get some injuries if you push people hard but doing nothing isn’t an option either.’

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