Pompey seeking free agent to solve goalkeeping headache

Pompey Academy keeper Connor O'Hara
Pompey Academy keeper Connor O'Hara

Pompey have turned their attention to free agents as they seek to solve their goalkeeping dilemma.

The Football League have refused Guy Whittingham special dispensation to bring in a loan player to replace Alex Cisak, who has returned to Oldham.

It leaves the caretaker boss with Simon Eastwood as the only keeper in his squad.

Whittingham has swiftly ruled out calling-up 16-year-old Connor O’Hara from the Academy.

Instead, he will focus on bringing in a goalkeeper currently without a club, with the likes of ex-Bristol City stopper Adriano Basso currently without a club.

With no game this weekend, it gives the Blues added time to search for likely candidates.

And Whittingham expects ‘one or two’ in training on Monday for a trial.

He said: ‘I’ve said it before that I would have no problem playing Simon (Eastwood).

‘But if he gets injured in the warm-up, which happens sometimes, we would be left with no goalkeeper. I know it is rare but it can happen.

‘I’m not looking at Connor (O’Hara), either. He has not got the experience, nor has he trained enough with the first team.

‘He’s a first-year scholar who came in the summer and has not even come up through the age groups.

‘We can bring in a free agent, though, and have been racking our brains about that as soon as we knew the Cisak situation.

‘There isn’t a game this weekend so that gives us a bit of time to look around.

‘There is certainly no need to rush into it.

‘There are one or two out there. We have to think carefully as they are free because they are free agents, if you know what I mean.

‘There are some experienced ones and young ones we have been looking at and we’ll keep looking.

‘As I said, we have not got to worry over the weekend.

‘However, on Monday there might be one or two new faces at the training ground.’

An alternative for Whittingham would be to bring in an outfield player to fill his final squad spot.

That could be either through recruiting a free agent or promoting one of the development group.

As it stands, Dan Butler, Jed Wallace, Dan Thompson, George Colson and Elliot Wheeler are already out on loan. And for Whittingham, a possible return for the youngsters is not a consideration.

He added: ‘We have the option of bringing up one of the young lads. Having said that, they are all out on loan and we cannot recall them until after 28 days.

‘Even if they were, though, they need to play games, that’s the whole point. If they came back and were part of the squad they would not necessarily happen.

‘As for bringing in another outfield player on a free, if we do and another one suddenly comes along then we could lose out.’