Jack Whatmough back in full training - Portsmouth reserve game earmarked for return
Pompey have targeted having Jack Whatmough back playing this year.
The popular centre-half has returned to full training and been earmarked to feature for the reserves in 2019.
Whatmough has been sidelined since February after damaging cartilage in his left knee against Doncaster Rovers.
Following microfracture surgery, the Gosport ace has now finished intensive work with the physios and sports science department.
That’s allowed his rehabilitation to step up another gear and he’s now back working with Kenny Jackett's first-team squad.
Whatmough has since impressed his boss at the Blues’ Roko training base, pushing himself throughout his reintegration to the set-up.
Now the next stage in the process is to get the 23-year-old in a reserve outing as he works towards a potential senior return.
Jackett said: ‘We always thought Christmas was generally the round-up so I suppose he is ahead of schedule.
‘He is going well, very well because we're five weeks before Christmas and he is out full training. He is very confident in what he is doing.
‘At what stage do we say “right, you’ve had a few weeks training now” and get him a game? That will be coming up – certainly in 2019 that will be coming up.
‘Jack pushes himself and he’s not shy in terms of the work and how he pushes himself. He really pushes hard and tests his body out.
‘It has been a frustrating time for him because even last year he was excellent.
‘Hopefully he can get back and if there is anyone who has worked hard enough and has a positive attitude then it’s Jack.
‘We definitely will get him reserve games. There is a game against Villa next Friday and we have got some in mind. Whether he will play in that one, I don’t know.
‘There are some in mind but we will have to get him to get his match fitness and his confidence back.’
Despite being sidelined for nine months and returning from a third serious knee problem, Jackett admitted Whatmough hasn’t held back in training.
The manager added: ‘Jack doesn’t show any hesitation when he is training, which is good because you can do after being out for quite a while.
‘Even subconsciously you can hesitate slightly but he doesn't do that. He pushes with everything he has got.
‘Looking at training, he looks really good and very confident. He doesn’t hold back on anything.
‘You generally have people who come back after long-term injuries and they do hesitate subconsciously, whereas Jack doesn’t.
‘He throws himself into everything and plays very positively for someone who has had the injuries that he’s had – that is good news.’