Whittingham: My reasons for quartet’s Pompey exit

1330_WALSALL_PFC_4/1/13. ''Mustapha Dumbuya. ''Npower League 1 action, Walsall FC V Portsmouth FC, from the Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Birmingham. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (1330-957)
1330_WALSALL_PFC_4/1/13. ''Mustapha Dumbuya. ''Npower League 1 action, Walsall FC V Portsmouth FC, from the Banks's Stadium, Walsall, Birmingham. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (1330-957)

Guy Whittingham has insisted the necessity to slash costs and look to the future were the driving forces behind his Pompey squad cull.

Brian Howard, Mustapha Dumbuya, Lee Williamson and Jon Harley have all been informed their contracts will not be renewed.

6/10/2012 (SPORT)''Portsmouth FC v Milton Keynes FC match at Milton Keynes stadium on Saturday.''Pictured is: Portsmouth FC's Brian Howard during the match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123242-6265)

6/10/2012 (SPORT)''Portsmouth FC v Milton Keynes FC match at Milton Keynes stadium on Saturday.''Pictured is: Portsmouth FC's Brian Howard during the match.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123242-6265)

Officially they will leave next Tuesday, although a mutual exit could be agreed sooner.

Inevitably, the decision to let the players go has sparked much debate among the Fratton faithful, particularly in the cases of Dumbuya and Harley.

Yet for Whittingham, the pressure was on from PKF to reduce the wage bill, with the club still entrenched in administration. And with youth waiting in the wings for a first-team chance, he opted to wield the axe on the experienced quartet.

Whittingham said: ‘These decisions have been made for financial and long-term reasons.

‘Obviously with the need to reduce the wage bill you have to make sacrifices so that meant the high earners had to leave.

‘We also have two lads in Dan Butler and Adam Webster who are going to be part of the future and we need to start getting them games. That was part of the reason as well.

‘We wanted to introduce them slowly but we don’t have the choice at the moment so we will see if they can play there.

‘It’s a shame for Jon Harley. He’s a really nice guy and wants to be here but it’s just that balance of the finances to keep him here and always the possibility Dan might get in some time.

‘Dan has earned rave reviews at the Hawks, done well in training with us and really kicked on this year. We have to look at the long-term.

‘At the start of next season who is going to be our full-backs?

‘The development players have got to start thinking about first-team action.

‘With Lee Williamson, his leaving was financial.

‘He’s a good pro who we certainly have not seen the best of here and more often than not probably wasn’t played in the position he wanted.

‘Probably the same with Brian Howard. He has talked a few times publicly about not producing the form he should do.

‘Mustapha has been hot and cold with his performances. At times he has been fantastic on the ball going forward but against Walsall his lapses of concentration were costly.

‘As for Jon, that was probably the hardest decision to come to.’

The four players trained with the Blues as normal at Eastleigh yesterday.

They are available for Saturday’s visit of Notts County as Pompey attempt to end 14 games without a win.

Harley has already asked to be considered for the match.

And for Whittingham it is a big decision.

He added: ‘They are still training with us and will be available for the game against Notts County. One or two have said they want to play on Saturday.

‘We have got to think whether that person on that pitch will be right considering the situation.

‘It’s something which will have to be look at, although some of the four may leave before then.’