Guy Whittingham has vowed to keep Pompey’s young fledglings grounded as the vultures begin to circle.
The Blues caretaker boss has confirmed his side have turned down offers for rising star Jed Wallace following his hurtling elevation to the first team.
Whittingham dismissed two bids for the 18-year-old before the close of the January window – believed to be from Port Vale and Brighton – as ‘derisory’.
That is along with reports of interest in Dan Butler following his promising introduction to the senior picture.
The left-sided talent has made six league appearances since his debut in January against Hartlepool.
Wallace has had eight outings and grabbed two goals in a period which has underlined his potential.
The midfielder’s energy has caught the eye of suitors but Whittingham is confident both players will be staying put.
And the Pompey boss insists they won’t be getting carried away by the talk.
‘Jed has adapted incredibly well,’ said Whittingham.
‘It’s a lot for him to take in his stride but we will make sure both him and Dan Butler don’t get carried away.
‘We’ve got a few players on our hands at the moment who are being talked about and there is some interest in.
‘They have the attitude to succeed. They are both good lads who are getting used to how to be professional.
‘We almost didn’t have these players in the summer because we almost lost the development group.
‘It’s a good job we managed to keep it because we are reaping the rewards now.
‘It’s not only Jed and Dan who have stepped up to the mark but also Adam Webster and Ashley Harris. They will have good careers and we want that to be here.’
Wallace returned to the starting line-up at Hartlepool on Tuesday after being left on the bench at Bournemouth on Saturday.
That was after his frantic four starts, which included goals against Hartlepool at home on his debut and a deft finish against Colchester.
Whittingham knows Wallace has the belief to continue starting every game.
But that has to be tempered with helping his football education.
Whittingham said: ‘Jed’s a confident kid who went to Whitehawk and did well.
‘He’s come into the first team and impressed but I think it’s suddenly hit him what he’s achieved, not just physically but mentally.
‘He’s in the first team in the Football League where winning and losing counts.
‘You can’t throw them in willy-nilly and overuse them.
‘They will think they can keep going but the truth is they can’t, experience tells you that.
‘I know everyone is keen to get our kids in – and we’re keen, too.
‘But we don’t want to ruin their careers and curtail their first-team involvement.
‘That’s the reason why you pull them out. Jed will think he can be in the next team and the next team but sometimes you have to sit them down.
‘You have to tell them they are doing tremendously but also get them to realise, sooner or later, their form is going to dip.
‘No matter how hard they try it will happen because it’s the natural thing that happens.
‘So you need to manage it well and dip them in and out a little bit.’