JACK WHATMOUGH has set his heart on a Pompey future.
The defender is keen to stay at Fratton Park with his current deal up this summer.
Whatmough is out to put a frustrating period of injury troubles behind him and return to his best form.
But the 20-year-old knows he’s going to need a run of games in Paul Cook’s side to do that.
Whatmough was hit with a cruciate knee injury in 2015, before suffering another setback last August.
The Gosport talent is confident those problems are in the past – and wants to remain at the club he’s served since the age of 12.
‘Of course I’d want to stay,’ said Whatmough.
‘Speaking to my family and the people who represent me, I’ve said this is where I want to be. I’ve been at the club since I was 12. I couldn’t picture going anywhere else, but what happens, happens.
‘Some people go elsewhere, some people stay in one place their whole career.
‘I’m happy, enjoying myself and hopefully I can move forward here. It’s been an emotional time – I’ve had injury strike for two years.
‘You just have to tick them off and work hard to prevent them happening again. You have to focus on what’s going to come next.
‘My missus and the family look after me and keep me grounded. I’ve got great support at home with my family and here at the club.
‘They keep me in the right place and help me enjoy my football. I am enjoying it, too, even if I’m not getting as much time as I’d like to get.
‘I have to work hard to make sure I’m playing games.
‘That’s what I’ll continue to do for as long as I’m at this club. Hopefully that can be for many more years.’
Whatmough was given a huge ovation when he was given his first senior minutes since November against Blackpool last week.
The Academy graduate has been sharing duties on the bench with Tom Davies of late. The defender accepts that situation but is looking for decent playing time.
Whatmough added: ‘Me and Tom are not always in the squad, but we’re performing well for the under-23s and working hard in training.
‘It’s a difficult decision who to put in but the manager has been fair to us both.
‘He’s been honest and told us what he thinks. We’re both that happy with that.
‘I worked hard in the off season. I was with the fella we do boxing with staying fit.
‘I came back fit and strong and was happy. So it was unfortunate to get injured.
‘Hopefully I’m past them now and can just focus on being 100-per-cent fit and finishing this season strongly.
‘Hopefully next season I can be here and be strong then as well. I was at my best before the injury when I had a good run of games in the team.
‘I felt I was performing well when that happened, so hopefully I can get that good run of games and get back to where I was.’