Blues boss: We have just got to stay tough

Liam Lawrence was a major doubt ahead of the Derby game
Liam Lawrence was a major doubt ahead of the Derby game
Gaffer for a day Josh Sweetman wants to se Conor Chaplin start against Walsall

Pompey v Walsall: Gaffer for a day

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Pompey’s walking wounded have been asked to tough it out.

Steve Cotterill admitted Liam Lawrence, Jonathan Hogg and Ritchie de Laet were all carrying injuries ahead of the 1-1 draw with Derby.

Lawrence was even withdrawn from Ireland’s squad to face Wales this week late on Saturday evening.

Carl Dickinson also made a surprise appearance on the bench, despite Pompey’s belief the full-back needs knee surgery.

Cotterill explained: ‘Up until 12.45pm, we weren’t sure where we were going to be with Liam.

‘He had two injections in his calf and he had two dives in the oxygen chamber last week.

‘Liam was the big problem – he was our big worry.

‘But we also had Jonathan Hogg who hadn’t trained all week after tweaking his medial ligament against QPR and Ritchie de Laet hadn’t trained either because he’s got a bit of a groin problem.

‘That’s the worst thing. I can’t say “alright lads, you sit it out and I’ll bring another couple in”.

‘We are always waiting. It’s an unbelievable situation.

‘But we’ve got to stay tough and just hard-nose this one out.’

While goalscorer David Nugent had also been ill for much of the week, on-loan Dickinson has been assessed by his parent club Stoke City who have advised against surgery for the moment.

Cotterill said: ‘There’s still a bit of an issue surrounding his knee.

‘He’s been to see Stoke’s surgeon and he doesn’t want to touch it at the moment so we have to go with Stoke’s wishes.’

Tal Ben Haim was also involved in the pre-match warm-up while he trains with Pompey but he will not be available as his contract dispute with West Ham continues.