Whatmough: Pompey play-off hopes still alive

Jack Whatmough in action at Bradford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough in action at Bradford. Picture: Joe Pepler
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The play-off noose has been tightening around Pompey’s neck.

And Jack Whatmough now believes the Blues’ campaign has entered the realms of sudden death.

But the defender is confident the grim reaper didn’t swing his scythe down on his team’s campaign at Valley Parade.

The 3-1 loss to a Bantams side in dreadful form was a sickening blow to the hopes of Kenny Jackett’s troops making the top six.

The fact it came against an outfit with just a single win in 15 outings made the reverse all the more dispiriting.

Whatmough believes there is still life in Pompey’s season with three games left, though.

The 21-year-old told how Jackett addressed his players in the wake of the Bradford loss.

The tone of that message was three wins would leave them on 72 points – a return the Blues boss feels is likely to see them extend their campaign.

Whatmough said: ‘We need to go and get nine points out of nine now and win every game.

‘That would give up 72 points and that’s normally enough to get you in the play-offs.

‘It has to be three points on Saturday against Charlton. That’s our focus right now.

‘It’s nine points up for grabs and we need to take nine points.

‘The gaffer said 72 points got play-offs last season. We’ve got 63 now.

‘We’ll focus on ourselves and finishing our season strongly.

‘If we do that it can put us where we need to be.

‘It can put us in and around it and I can’t see why we can’t get there. We’re a good side.’

Much of the talk ahead of the Bradford game centred on the quality of their pitch.

The surface did prove a challenging one for both sides with rain on the night adding to it’s sticky nature.

Whatmough was adamant that wasn’t a factor in why Pompey came up short, however.

He said: ‘It’s not the best pitch but it is what it is.

‘It’s up to us to be able to adapt to those situations.

‘We were a little more direct at times because of that.

‘They managed to deal with that, though.

‘The pitch isn’t the best but we can’t be using that as an excuse.’

Whatmough’s frustration over Pompey’s errors was compounded by the fact he felt his team more than matched Bradford.

Without dominating, Jackett’s side had territory and possession but were left to rue their sloppy play.

Whatmough added: ‘We’re coming away disappointed and mistakes have cost us. I thought we looked the better side when we got back into it.

‘I felt we were in a good position but it wasn’t to be.’