Skipper tips Pompey squad for top-six placing

Jack Whatmough in action against the Hawks on Saturday Picture: Neil Marshall

Whatmough: Great to have my Pompey mentor back

Brett Pitman is gunning for a top-six finish in League One this season.

The Blues skipper is aiming his sights high as Kenny Jackett’s side aim to build on last term’s eighth-place finish.

Pompey striker Brett Pitman Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey striker Brett Pitman Picture: Colin Farmery

A procession of injuries hampered Pompey’s second half of the 2017-18 campaign, although play-off interest remained until the final few weeks.

This summer has signalled the arrivals of Craig MacGillivray, Lee Brown, Tom Naylor, Louis Dennis and Ronan Curtis to bolster playing numbers.

Pitman is convinced that recruitment has significantly strengthened the squad.

And he is targeting an improved finish in the forthcoming campaign.

Danny Rose in action at Westleigh Park Picture: Neil Marshall

Danny Rose in action at Westleigh Park Picture: Neil Marshall

He said: 'I don't think we were satisfied with eighth last season, we wanted to finish in the top six.

‘But we probably ended up finishing where we deserved, it was about right.

‘We weren’t far away from finishing in the top six so, with the improvements made to the squad, there is no reason why we can’t this year.

‘You never know in football. Our aim is to finish in the top six. That’s our aim.

‘Can we achieve it? Yes. Will we achieve it? We’ll find out in nine months time.

'We were disappointed last season because up until four games to go we were still well in it, but the lack of depth in the squad caught us out.

'The run we had in the second half of the season – when for a month or two months we had a lot of injuries – caught us up in the end.

'Our depth now is better, for sure. We've lost Kal (Naismith), but gained five since then.

‘The depth has definitely improved and the younger lads are another year older and better for that experience.’

Aside from the quintet of new recruits, Danny Rose is available once more following his six-month lay-off.

And Pitman believes a quieter treatment room could be crucial to the Blues’ hopes of promotion.

He added: 'The main thing this pre-season is we haven't really had any injuries after a few weeks back.

‘Ben Close missed the Irish trip but is okay now and played the other day.

‘A lot of our injuries last year weren't preventable. Jack (Whatmough) and Tareiq (Holmes-Dennis) did their knees, I did my knee, Danny Rose broke his leg in a drop ball, they were freak accidents.

'After Christmas we didn't have the strength in depth to cope with the injuries, but the squad is stronger now.’