Pompey in training ground race

Guy Whittingham is likely to take his Pompey squad to St John's College's playing fields for the start of pre-season   Picture: Joe Pepler
Guy Whittingham is likely to take his Pompey squad to St John's College's playing fields for the start of pre-season Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey will not be able to use their new training ground for the start of pre-season.

The Blues today announced their relocation to the University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus for the upcoming campaign.

A one-year deal has been agreed with the university for what will be their third home in seven months, having previously been at Eastleigh and then Eastney Barracks.

The Academy will also be able to play their home matches on the Furze Lane site.

However, unconnected work is currently taking place in a massive overhaul of facilities.

That is being carried out by the university as part of an ambitious £1m project to create state-of-the-art playing resources.

In addition, three existing pitches need work to bring them up to Pompey’s requirement of Football League standard, work which started today following the contract signing.

The News understands that, as a result, the venue won’t be ready for at least another three weeks to house Guy Whittingham’s squad.

Pompey come back for pre-season tomorrow for two days of fitness testing at the University of Winchester.

But it will be Monday before the players and triallists commence training in anticipation of the League Two campaign.

The contingency plan is St John’s College, whose playing fields are located in Farlington.

The Blues will train there until the appropriate work at Furze Lane has been completed.

The club have an excellent relationship with the Southsea-based independent school, who allowed the Academy to use their facilities on occasions last term.

Fratton Park has been ruled out as a stand-in training venue following work on the playing surface over the summer.

With the new grass still bedding in, Pompey’s ground staff want to restrict its use to strictly the two home pre-season friendlies.

The Blues’ stadium was used as an alternative to Eastney Barracks last season when the pitches were flooded and ended up being their primary base.

It leaves St John’s as the alternative for an unspecified period at this moment in time.

Privately, the club do not believe the training ground delay will impact on their pre-season and are relaxed about the situation.

Within that period, Whittingham’s new-look squad are away for a week’s training in Colchester from July 14-20.

Their first friendly is a trip to the Hawks on Tuesday, July 9, followed by a match at Bognor (Saturday, July 13).

It remains unclear how long it will be before they get the keys to the Langstone Campus venue, although it is expected to be longer than three weeks.

Monday, though, marks almost a month before the League Two campaign kicks off on Saturday, August 3.

That begins with a home clash against Oxford.