Jack Whatmough can still have long career - ex-skipper Paul Robinson is proof

Jack Whatmough can still have a long and prosperous career despite his injury record.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 3rd June 2019, 1:03 pm
Jack Whatmough, right, and Pompey head physio Bobby Bacic. Picture: Joe Pepler

Head physio Bobby Bacic pinpointed former Pompey captain and current coach Paul Robinson as inspiration that the Gosport ace is capable of overcoming his problems.

Whatmough is sidelined until the new year with knee cartilage damage he picked up against Doncaster in February.

It’s the third time the 22-year-old has spent an extended period on the treatment table.

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Paul Robinson with Jack Whatmough behind. Picture: Joe Pepler

That’s led to some sections of supporters doubting whether Whatmough can go a full season without breaking down in the future.

However, Bacic believes the centre-back has two perfect people in Kenny Jackett’s backroom staff to lean on.

Robinson had several long-term injuries yet made more than 500 Football League appearances and was still playing in the National League with the Hawks last season aged 37.

Assistant manager Joe Gallen also suffered a similar problem to Whatmough at a young age and can offer advice.

Bacic said: ‘Jack is going slowly and surely and we’re very happy at the moment.

‘He’s working in the gym and the pool and when we feel ready we’ll press him on to a bit more loading work.

‘We’re going stage by stage. This stage was to decrease the swelling and get a range of movement.

‘His walking is correct so the next stage is to build up some muscle bulk so the knee is protected as much as possible.

‘When we’re ready we’ll go on to the jogging/ running stage, which is always tricky.

‘Sometimes you plough ahead and sometimes you plateau a little bit.

‘At the moment, he’s going very well and steady but we are prepared if there is a plateau.

‘He’s got strong mentality and is realistic. He knows what he needs to do with the knee and has been ultra professional.

‘Jack’s got a lot of backing from people. Joe Gallen, who had an injury early in his career, might tell him things maybe not to do.

‘Then Paul Robinson who over the years had a serious knee injury, a fractured metatarsal and he had surgery in America (for a groin injury).

‘But Paul had a long career and Jack has got some good people to talk to and help him along.

‘Paul is almost just finishing now and has had a good career, so Jack can lean on those people.

‘Sometimes we were worried about Paul (at Millwall) but he played a good level and a lot of matches.

‘He had a very respected career so there are good people at the club and if we need to go elsewhere we would.

‘But Jack is a bright lad, sensible and has a great worth ethic.’

Although Whatmough’s rehabilitation is going to plan, it’s unlikely he won’t return to full training for another six months.

Bacic added: ‘We’re still looking at six months until we get him back into training and the more advanced you go, the trickier it gets.

‘The loading becomes more and the knee could react.

‘But as it stands we’re pleased, the surgeon is pleased and so is Jack.

‘The time earmarked is around the new year but that’s to be back in training.

‘Even when you’re back in training you know you need three reserve matches to be ready for first-team action.’