Jack Whatmough is ready for Portsmouth's first-team - Kenny Jackett
Jack Whatmough is ready for Pompey’s first-team.
That is the verdict of Kenny Jackett following the 23-year-old’s successful comeback against Plymouth in the week.
Besides a 60-minute behind-closed-doors training game last month, the 1-1 draw represented the central defender’s first taste of match action in more than 11 months.
Added to full training involvement since November, Jackett believes Whatmough is now primed for first-team consideration.
And having been an unused substitute against AFC Wimbledon, he will again be in the Blues’ squad for Saturday's trip to Bolton.
Jackett said: ‘I was speaking to Jack before the game against AFC Wimbledon and said: “At what stage are you comfortable going on?”.
‘He said “At any stage”, which is a good answer. I also didn’t get any thought from his body language that he wasn’t anything other than confident.
‘As the weeks go by he has got more confident, he’s had a fair bit of time in full training and his latest game was Tuesday.
‘I don’t think it is necessarily just about games, you need time. You need time so the rest of your body can get ready and get used to things.
'That’s something he’s had since training with us since November. I have given him, what we call, a good 6-8 week pre-season and some games in there.
‘He has actually had weeks and weeks and weeks of full training with the first-team as well – and we have confidence his knee can handle anything.
‘Time on the pitch, training for that volume of weeks, it’s not just about the knee, the knee is ready, it’s the rest of your body that then has to get hardened and used to the fact you are back again.’
Whatmough has been out since February 2019 after tearing a cartilage in his left knee against Doncaster.
He has totalled 96 appearances and scored once since his debut in November 2013.
Jackett added: ‘I am confident we have done everything we can and I am also confident the ups and down of the knee have now settled down.
‘He’s had enough time, he’s had enough games, and I am confident when he gets called upon he can play.’