Awfs fearful over striker injury

Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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ANDY AWFORD fears Ryan Bird’s season could be over.

The Pompey boss admitted the striker has been struggling to recover from injury since returning to Fratton Park.

That comes as Jack Whatmough was forced to pull out of England under-18 duty with an injury niggle.

Awford recalled Bird from a loan stint at Cambridge, where the 26-year-old smashed in nine goals in an impressive spell.

But a groin problem has meant he has not been able to feature.

And, with the issue being worse than feared, Awford feels he would be fortunate to feature in any of the final three games of the campaign.

He said: ‘Ryan is the disappointing one. He’s struggling a little bit.

‘At the moment he has a few knocks and bumps, shall we say, but it may be a bit deeper than that.

‘He’s a little bit behind and it will take a while to get him up to speed.

‘He’s positive and good to have in the dressing room. But if he makes it for a game this season it will be a plus.’

Whatmough was forced to pull out of England’s game against Germany yesterday, but is expected to be okay to feature against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

There’s good news on the injury front, though, with Romain Padovani expected to be back in training after recovering from a calf injury.

The French midfielder has been missing since the 0-0 draw with Burton Albion in March. But the 24-year-old is now set to bolster Awford’s options over the remainder of the season.

Awford said: ‘I’ve not seen Romain since I took over, but he’ll hopefully join in later this week.’