Portsmouth News - Portsmouth Sportsmail

Jack ‘is in a good place’ to aid Blues

Boss praises defender’s profession­alism during absence

- Jordan Cross

Jack Whatmough has been backed to return at a high level in the cut and thrust of the make-or-break play-off showdown with Accrington.

And Pompey boss Danny Cowley is adamant he has no reservatio­ns about his defender’s discipline in the heat of today’s critical clash at Fratton Park.

Whatmough is set to come back into the Blues’ starting XI as the curtain comes down on the regular season against John Coleman’s side.

Pompey know only a win is likely to be enough on the final day as they fight it out against Oxford and Charlton for the final playoff berth, with their destiny in their own hands.

And having a player Cowley rates as one of his best assets to call upon after three weeks out and a four-game ban for his red card at MK Dons is massive boost.

Cowley said: ‘It’s huge, huge, huge to have him back. Unbelievab­le.

‘When he got sent off at MK Dons I could have cried.

‘To then find out we were going to lose him for four games was another kick in the proverbial­s.

‘We’ve missed him. We’ve all missed him - and we are delighted he’s back.

‘He’s been so profession­al through this period.

‘It hurt him having to come out, but he’s trained really profession­ally.

‘And he’s in a good place to now help the team on Sunday.

‘He’s a top player. He’s a top player in League One, right up there.’

The dismissal at Stadium MK was Whatmough’s second of the season after his controvers­ial red card against Lincoln in January.

Both decisions were unsuccessf­ully appealed against by Pompey, but after those suspension­s it has left questions being asked of Whatmough’s discipline in some quarters.

Cowley was emphatic in his view on the subject, however, and has absolutely no concerns about the Gosport lad going into a game where there is no room for error.

He added: ‘I think Jack is a highly intelligen­t boy, a very good footballer.

‘I think he learns every day.

‘I have absolutely no concern over his discipline at all - at all.

‘I’ve seen the Lincoln red card and I didn’t think it was a sending-off.

‘We all have to understand the rules of the game are what they are, and they are being applied in a different way to how they were applied historical­ly.

‘We have to adapt accordingl­y.

‘I think it’s a time on Sunday to harness the emotion, play with that energy and intensity but also the calmness to execute.

‘That’s the fine balance we need to find.’

 ?? PiCTURE: JOE PEPLER ?? Jack Whatmough wins an aerial challenge in the recent home game with Burton
PiCTURE: JOE PEPLER Jack Whatmough wins an aerial challenge in the recent home game with Burton

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