Betis clash in doubt as Pompey are left stranded in US

Kanu is one of three Pompey players set to fly back today
Kanu is one of three Pompey players set to fly back today
Former Pompey chairman Iain McInnes. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey have been left stranded in America after their plane was damaged.

And that has cast doubt on whether tomorrow’s friendly against Real Betis will go ahead.

As it stands, none of the first-team squad will be back in time for the final pre-season friendly.

An alternative would be to throw in Andy Awford’s Academy side to fulfil the Fratton Park fixture (6.30pm).

In the meantime, players, management and staff were last night forced to stay in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The scheduled US 732 flight was grounded after a catering truck was believed to have collided with their US Airways plane.

It has been claimed it had left a hole in the plane.

The Blues’ travelling party and 17 supporters had been set to catch the 6.25pm flight from Charlotte Douglas Airport

Yet it was cancelled minutes before the scheduled 5.40pm boarding time.

After a lengthy delay, Blues chief executive David Lampitt and joint-owner Roman Dubov managed to catch an alternative flight via New York.

However, Pompey’s players and staff were forced to stay the night in Charlotte.

Kanu, Dave Kitson and Tal Ben Haim are set to fly back today to receive treatment on various knocks and niggles.

The remainder of the group will fly back tomorrow, some of them via Boston.

Meanwhile, Pompey supporters have been redirected to as far as Canada in a bid to return home tomorrow.

Among the supporters stranded was Paul Banks, 48, from Fratton.

Banks organised travel for all 17 supporters who spent the past week in Charleston.

They also had to take alternative flights, some travelling as far as Canada, while others went via Atlanta, Philadelphia or Tampa.

But Banks insisted spirits remained high.

He said: ‘We had to queue for more than three hours to get different flights.

‘Eventually, we ended up being scattered all over the States, while two others went to Canada.

‘We thought it was bad enough being delay five hours when flying out there in the first place.

‘Still, it was a fantastic trip overall.

‘Everyone has remained in good spirits and we had chats with Steve Cotterill and David Lampitt at the airport.’

Meanwhile, Pompey could now reassess their friendly at Dorchester Town on Tuesday night.

A testimonial for the Magpies’ Mark Jermyn, it had originally been earmarked as a run out for Pompey’s Academy.

However, that could well change now the first team will not be able to face Real Betis tomorrow.