Awford hopeful over Holmes availability

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

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Andy Awford revealed Ricky Holmes’ ongoing back problem ruled him out of last night’s victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.

The reigning player of the season failed to make the squad along with fellow injury-victim Nicky Shorey.

The complaint has hampered Holmes’ displays during the campaign.

But Awford is hopeful the problem can continue to be managed to enable him to play regularly. The Blues boss said: ‘We have to maintain Ricky, there is an issue there with his back.

‘It’s a daily thing and we have to make sure he is as fit as he can possibly be.

‘Unfortunately he wasn’t fit last night because his back isn’t quite right but we have got to make sure we maintain him, look after him and make sure he is as fit for as many games as he can.

‘It’s a recurrence of a pre-season injury and we have to make sure he is okay.

‘Some days he doesn’t train because of it, there are certain things he doesn’t do and certain things he does do so that is a daily thing.

‘I hope he is available at the weekend, we have got to see how he reacts to training tomorrow and see where he is at.

‘He doesn’t need an operation, it is just managing it.’

Meanwhile, a tight calf ruled Shorey out of last night’s 3-0 win over the Daggers.

In his absence, Dan Butler started at left wing-back.

He added: ‘Nicky has a real spot on his calf that isn’t quite right.

‘He mentioned it Saturday before the game so it would have been silly to have played him last night and put him through that and risk him being out for a few weeks.’