When Portsmouth's Jack Whatmough could make his first-team return
Kenny Jackett has explained when he believes Jack Whatmough will be ready for action.
The Pompey boss can’t put an exact time frame on the centre-back's injury return, although it could come during the festive period.
Whatmough stepped up his comeback from a long-term knee injury in a behind-closed-doors match at the Blues’ training ground on Thursday.
The 23-year-old featured for the duration of the 60-minute game that was specifically tailored for his rehabilitation.
It’s another stride in the right direction for Whatmough, who’s been sidelined since February 2 when limping off during a 1-1 draw with Doncaster at Fratton Park.
Now the next challenge for the popular Gosport lad is to break into the first-team fold.
And although Jackett hasn’t pinpointed a date, Whatmough could be named on the bench as soon as Pompey’s clash with Wycombe on Boxing Day.
The manager said: ‘It was really good and I’m pleased for him as a person as well because Jack just gets on with it.
‘He’s got a great mentality and terrific attitude. He’s had a few setbacks in a young career but picks himself up and goes again.
‘It is good to see him back and he’s a good player, so will be a big addition when he is right.
‘In the past few weeks, he’s come through every test that I’ve set him and I’m pleased for him because he’s worked hard.
‘Jack will keep training with us and we have to be careful with the very heavy pitches we have here because the league pitches are a lot firmer.
‘Similarly, you have to be tested out. I have always thought Christmas or around if he’s doing all the work we’re setting him, which he’s done. I've always thought it was a realistic target.
‘I can’t put a time frame on it but originally all of the time I did feel when Christmas came around, he’d have had enough work and enough tests.
‘That’s still in my mind – whether it's Wycombe, whether it's sub, whether it's MK Dons, Gillingham, Fleetwood or Walsall – around that run of games.’
Whatmough made a goalscoring return in the behind-closed-doors game made up mainly of academy players, although his side fell to a 4-1 defeat.
Nevertheless, he came through it unscathed.
Jackett added: ‘I spoke to the physio, who had a look at the knee before and after.
‘He said there were no problems and nothing was needed to be flagged up or reported.
‘He slipped over at one stage but got up again and got on with it.’