Whittingham urges fringe players to break into his side

Liam Walker is yet to establish himself in Pompey's starting XI
Liam Walker is yet to establish himself in Pompey's starting XI

Pompey’s fringe players have been told: Show you’re ready to start.

The Blues head into tomorrow’s visit of Yeovil on the back of 11 matches without a win.

The likes of Brian Howard, Johnny Ertl and Darel Russell have all been regulars in caretaker boss Guy Whittingham’s midfield during his seven games in charge, but the results have not come.

In contrast, during that time Liam Walker has made just the one substitute appearance, while Ashley Harris has featured only twice.

Whittingham has also pencilled Jed Wallace into his squad for tomorrow, once permission for his registration is received from the Football League.

The Fratton faithful are calling for changes after a disappointing defeat to Crawley Town on Boxing Day warranted booing from some sections at the final whistle.

And Whittingham admits it is up to those out of the side to prove their worth in training.

He said: ‘If I was a player who had been on the fringes and not played and we hadn’t won for 10 league games, I would start thinking to myself “I have got to train well, I have got to make sure I am on top of it because I might just get my chance”.

‘That is not a hint about what might happen but it is a situation where, if I was a player, I might be banging on the manager’s door.

‘I would be saying “what have I got to do to get myself in, gaffer? We’ve lost 10 and I’m itching to get on there and show you what I can do”.

‘Just do all the right things. They don’t have to run around more, just do the right things.

‘The majority of times they are but we have got to have people who are consistently doing it, who can’t switch off, whether it’s in training or whatever, because at the moment it is costing us on the pitch.

‘That could all change, though.

‘Football League permission allowing, Jed Wallace will come into the squad tomorrow, for sure, because of numbers.

‘To be fair to Jed, that is all he has ever wanted to do since he came to this club – to play for the first team.

‘Hopefully he will get his opportunity.’

Pompey recalled Wallace from a loan spell at Ryman League premier division Whitehawk to bring him into their squad.

The departures of Jake Jervis and Jack Compton created two spots in a squad with a 20-player maximum.

One of those has been earmarked for goal-scoring midfielder Wallace.

Whittingham added: ‘Jed has lots of rawness. He knows he is far from the finished act but is a confident young kid with plenty of energy to get around the place.

‘That energy might be just something we are able to introduce into the side at some point. He is a confident guy, he wants to take his chance, he wants to drive his career on.

‘He’s got time for that because I think, eventually, he will develop into a decent player and will make a living at this level.

‘But it is how much you introduce him, how much you involve him.

‘It’s the same with Ashley Harris and Adam Webster because you don’t want to put too much pressure on them straight away.’