Whittingham wants rookie to commit to Pompey

Alex Grant, left, during Pompey training. Picture: Sarah Standing (1372-1390)
Alex Grant, left, during Pompey training. Picture: Sarah Standing (1372-1390)
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Guy Whittingham has earmarked Alex Grant for a new Pompey deal next season.

The defender has impressed during his current loan spell with the Hawks.

He replaced Dan Butler, who has since gone on to be a Blues regular, at left-back in Lee Bradbury’s line-up.

Grant is one of five first-year professionals out of contract in the summer.

The likes of George Colson and Dan Thompson have been told there will be no new deals for them.

Whittingham is unsure whether he will have the finances to offer Elliot Wheeler anything.

But he is keen to tie versatile defender Grant down to a fresh contract, with an eye on building for the future.

Whittingham said: ‘Alex is out of contract and we’ve looked at it.

‘He is one of those we would, in an ideal world, like to keep. He’s a young man and at 18 or 19 you don’t mature as people, let alone footballers.

‘I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I am sure these guys will always say they want to play professional football.

‘Hopefully if we can give him an opportunity here he can take it up.

‘At the moment Alex is still with Havant playing games and is one of those we are saying about bringing in.

‘If anything happened to Dan Butler or Adam Webster then he would certainly be one we would bring up.

‘He might possibly find himself in the squad in the next few weeks.

‘With him playing games at Havant we don’t just want to bring him out and stick him on the subs’ bench for a while.

‘It’s important he plays a lot of games because he had a bad injury at the beginning of the season.

‘Alex needs lots of games under his belt to get his football going again.’

Meanwhile, Thompson and Wheeler have joined Colson in training with Stoke.

The Premier League side are casting their eye over the Blues trio, who are looking to win deals.

Thompson has recently been playing for Bognor, although was not in their squad for the weekend win over Wingate & Finchley.

Colson and Wheeler ended loan spells with Bashley this month.