Blues will battle to keep Academy

Dan Butler has been called up to Pompey's first-team squad
Dan Butler has been called up to Pompey's first-team squad

Guy Whittingham has promised he and his staff are ‘doing everything’ to ensure latest cost-cutting moves do not damage the Academy.

The youth set-up was under consideration to be reduced by administrators PKF, leaving the club with just under-16 and under-18 teams.

That option has now been scrapped, with the Academy instead facing cuts elsewhere.

The caretaker boss is only too aware of the importance of the youth system to the future of Pompey, which must be rebuilt and become self-sufficient. And he is adamant those at the club are fighting to preserve it.

‘It (the Academy being scrapped) got rumoured but nothing was set in concrete,’ said Whittingham, who added trainee Dan Butler to his first-team squad this week.

‘We think the Academy is set up the right way to go. You’ve got ex-players in there who are good coaches, passionate about the game and the football club – and I think it’s a good combination.

‘The people above them know how important it is to keep everybody together and we are doing everything we can to do that. In administration, you have got to cut your cloth accordingly and we have to wait and see where those cuts are going to come. When all this came out about the possibility of losing the Academy, though, I don’t think it is something you can say “right, that can go” because it can’t be.

‘Everybody knows that’s not the way to go and we’re doing everything to not let it go that way.

‘Some clubs run without academies and under-18s, with under-16s sides instead.

‘I think it is important for a club the size of Portsmouth – and I am not talking league status but the size and the fan base – that you have the players produced to play in your first team.’