JACK WHATMOUGH is expected to miss the start of next season.
The Pompey defender damaged cruciate ligaments in his left knee against Cheltenham back in March.
We have got to be very careful with injured players, especially those with Jack’s injury, and when he does come back he has to be 100 per cent rightGary Waddock
Since then he has undergone an operation, with the club satisfied the procedure went according to plan.
Whatmough subsequently took part in last weekend’s customary lap of appreciation for the final match of the campaign, albeit taking to the Fratton Park pitch on crutches.
At this stage, the timeframe for the 18-year-old’s Blues comeback remains difficult to accurately pinpoint.
However, assistant manager Gary Waddock does not anticipate the youngster playing any part of pre-season.
In addition, that would also rule him out when the League Two campaign kicks off on August 8.
Waddock has refused to write off what are nothing more than slim hopes of Whatmough emerging from his serious injury ahead of schedule.
But he admitted it was highly unlikely.
‘All the players have gone away with their own individual training programmes,’ said Waddock.
‘Obviously, Jack’s is slightly different having only recent come out of an operation, and he will continue to work on his rehabilitation with Sean Duggan (Pompey physio).
‘Unfortunately, I do not think Jack be able to take part in pre-season, but who knows, there is time ahead.
‘At the moment we don’t know how long he will be out for, it depends how quickly he recovers.
‘I suppose his age may help and he might recover quicker than anyone else, you have to remain optimistic.
‘But we have got to be very careful with injured players, especially those with Jack’s injury, and when he does come back he has to be 100-per-cent right.
‘So I would not think Jack will be back this summer, but I am certain he will give his everything.’
Whatmough made 24 appearances this season, largely establishing himself as a regular in Andy Awford’s side.
Thriving as part of the Pompey back three for periods of the campaign, the Gosport youngster was enjoying his best year to date.
Then came what appeared to be an innocuous moment against the Robins in the corner between the Fratton end and North stand.
Up until that March point, Whatmough had been keeping Ben Chorley, Johnny Ertl and Adam Webster out of the Blues’ defence.
Regardless, the 18-year-old was later voted by his team-mates as Pompey’s Young Player of the Season.
He has now made 36 appearances for the club, since making his debut in November 2013.
Pompey’s players have been told to report back for pre-season training on Monday, June 29.