JACK WHATMOUGH has been backed to show the strength of character to fight back from his knee injury.
The Pompey defender is facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.
Whatmough will wait to undergo an operation after suffering the injury in the 2-2 draw with Cheltenham earlier this month.
It’s been a breakthrough season for the 18-year-old, who has made 24 first-team appearances.
Blues boss Andy Awford believes the Gosport talent has the right mindset to make a full recovery.
Awford said: ‘Jack’s anterior cruciate ligament is damaged and he won’t play again this season.
‘It’s a serious one but, in terms of timescale, we don’t know how long he’ll be out.
‘All we’ll do is get him out there as quickly as we can, whether it takes six months, nine months or a year.
‘It’s a case of getting him in for the operation in four weeks time. The ligaments have to settle down before they can operate on the ACL.
‘So he’ll have four or five weeks doing what he’s doing, then they’ll operate and then it’s his rehabilitation.
‘He knows where he’s at and he’s a strong character.
‘I’m gutted for him but now he has to get on it because it’s part of football.’
Whatmough’s injury is similar to the one which kept West Fogden out for seven months but Awford feels the pair can’t be compared.
He said: ‘Wes Fogden got back quicker than expected and there’s no reason why Jack shouldn’t.
‘Jack is younger and they are different people. Each knee injury is different, though.’
Meanwhile, Josh Passley has extended his Pompey loan from Fulham until the end of the season.