Rocha commits to Pompey as Guy waits on budget

Ricardo Rocha has told Pompey he wants to return
Ricardo Rocha has told Pompey he wants to return
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Ricardo Rocha has told Pompey he wants to return.

Now Guy Whittingham must wait over the next 48 hours to discover whether he will be able to re-sign the defender.

In addition, the Blues boss is close to capturing his long-time central midfield target.

Pompey’s finances have been bolstered by selling more than 10,200 season tickets and reaping bumper corporate sales and sponsorship deals.

All have far exceeded expectations.

Whittingham is now awaiting the nod from the club’s board to potentially use that boost to increase his budget.

Ryan Bird, as revealed by The News on Friday, has already signed and his arrival was officially confirmed by Pompey last night.

As for Rocha, final talks on Monday saw the veteran defender pledge himself to a third stint with the Blues after mulling over his future. But Whittingham must first finalise funding to seal a 12-month deal for the fans’ favourite.

The same situation applies to the midfielder the Pompey manager has lined up, a player who spent last season with a League One club.

And Whittingham admitted the situation was complex.

He said: ‘We hope for things to be sorted by the end of the week and there are a lot of people doing a lot of good things.

‘It’s complicated but then isn’t it always!

‘I am one of those who won’t say anything until it’s done because anything can happen and it is like that.

‘There are a lot of barriers to get over and people are trying to help us out.’

Rocha has made 97 Pompey appearances and so far played in three different divisions for the Blues since arriving in February 2010.

He has become a massive Fratton favourite and, should he return, it would undoubtedly be greeted warmly.

It would also end Whittingham’s search for central-defensive cover, finishing any interest in Sam Sodje.

Already through the door is Bird, who has signed a one-year deal with a 12-month option.

He joined the Blues on Friday and has been given the number 18 shirt.

The former Burnham striker was an unused substitute in last night’s 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.

However, Whittingham has confirmed he will start Bird in tonight’s Pompey XI fixture at Salisbury City.

The Pompey boss added: ‘We had Ryan down on trial last season and liked the look of him.

‘He is one of those with a natural eye for goal.

‘He reminds me of myself a little bit in that he is not too interested in getting caught up in the build-up play.

‘He just wants to be in the box when the ball comes in.

‘That’s a great trait to have.

‘He’s come back fine from his holiday so him not training with us for a week is not a problem.

‘He’s dead keen, he probably thought he wouldn’t have the chance to do this.

‘It is all going to take him time to adjust but we think he will improve with the players he has got around him.

‘And he will be involved in the development group game tonight.’