Whittingham keen to keep pace with pack

Dave Kitson nets against Doncaster Rovers at the weekend Picture: Barry Zee
Dave Kitson nets against Doncaster Rovers at the weekend Picture: Barry Zee

Guy Whittingham has targeted a run of flying form to kickstart Pompey’s campaign.

Joint-caretaker boss Whittingham wants to see the Blues deliver a repeat of the winning run which injected life into their season last time around.

This time last year, Steve Cotterill’s men were in the middle of harvesting 19 points from a possible 21.

The 6-1 Friday night demolition of Leicester was the catalyst for that, following an awful start to the season which saw the team go seven league games without a win.

A run of two home successes on the bounce following Cotterill’s exit earlier this month sees Pompey currently sat in 16th place on 15th points.

The Championship is already starting to show signs of a divide, with four points between Whittingham’s side and managerless Leicester in 13th.

Just a couple of points then separate the Foxes from Leeds up in fifth place in the table.

Whittingham knows just how important it is going to be for the team to keep pace with the pack if their season is to go anywhere.

And a concerted run of form now will leave them tucked in nicely with the rest leading the field.

Whittingham said: ‘What’s important now is we don’t lose ground.

‘Picking up these little wins is great for that.

‘You look at Ipswich and what they have achieved.

‘Before Saturday they had six good results and that put them up into the top six.

‘That’s what can happen if you put a run together.

‘So we need to stay in touch now.

‘Look at what happened last season.

‘We had little runs, but we couldn’t get beyond that hurdle of being in touch.

‘So that has to be our aim now.

‘If we can get on a similar run to the one we went on last season at this stage, it can make a big difference.

‘Any team in this league is capable of going on one of those runs.

‘We have to strive to ensure that it’s us that does it.’

Pompey’s form since Whittingham and Stuart Gray have taken temporary charge of the team has led to the inevitable call for them to be given the job on a permanent basis among some fans.

Whittingham has poured cold water on that suggestion, making it clear he sees the position purely as a temporary one.

He feels the progress being made at the club in recent times is encouraging.

But what is needed now is a new face to take that development on.

Whittingham is still waiting on any further news on the managerial situation, with the interview process continuing.

The former Pompey striker remains happy holding the fort until the new man comes in, however.

Whittingham said: ‘It’s changed so much here in 12 months and it’s beginning to take off.

‘The little things are becoming right on and off the pitch.

‘We need someone to push it on further.

‘We want to find the club the time to get the right person.

‘We’re happy taking them (the players) for games and getting them ready for games, until such times as the new manager comes in.

‘That’s the situation we’ve been told and nothing’s changed.

‘As long as we’re getting results it will give them time, I suppose.

‘Whether that’s a week, two weeks or whatever, I don’t know.

‘But me and Stuart are happy to keep things ticking over.

‘I’m enjoying it, Stuart’s enjoying it and the players and staff are enjoying it.’