Brian Murphy edges towards Pompey recall

Brian Murphy in reserve-team action against Cardiff on Tuesday Picture: Colin Farmery
Brian Murphy in reserve-team action against Cardiff on Tuesday Picture: Colin Farmery
Graham Salisbury. Picture: Barry Zee

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Brian Murphy is edging nearer to his first-team return after safely negotiating his latest hurdle.

The keeper made his injury comeback in the reserves’ behind-closed-doors match against Cardiff on Tuesday.

And no adverse effects have been reported to put him in the frame to make Pompey’s squad for Saturday’s visit to Newport County.

The 32-year-old had featured for 61 minutes against the Bluebirds, before being replaced by Alex Bass – signalling his first appearance for a month.

Murphy aggravated his groin problem after turning out in the Blues’ 3-1 League Two victory over Barnet last month.

That absence coincided with a goalkeeping crisis at the club, culminating in Aaron McCarey arriving on a 28-day loan from Wolves.

But first-team coach Ian Foster was pleased with Murphy’s return to action in the week.

He said: ‘I thought Brian was excellent, his timing was good.

‘He has had a good seven-to-10 days of training now and it was good to get him on for an hour. He was only scheduled for 45 minutes, but wanted to get another 15.

‘By all accounts he has come through really well, is unscathed and is good to go, which is fabulous.

‘It was his first hour of action and I am sure the medical staff, the manager and Brian will have a conversation.

‘We don’t want to rush him back, but it seems everything is positive at this moment in time for him.’

Should he return to the squad for the Rodney Parade trip, Murphy is likely to replace Bass on the bench.

Definitely absent on Saturday will be Jayden Stockley, who remains at Bournemouth receiving treatment on his ankle injury.

The striker has been away from Pompey’s training ground for the past fortnight, prompting the recruitment of Caolan Lavery on loan in the meantime.

Ben Close, who had returned from a hamstring injury, has now picked up a thigh problem, keeping him out of Tuesday’s reserve fixture.

Elsewhere, Adam McGurk is expected to be out for another two weeks with his ankle complaint.

Meanwhile, Murphy’s goalkeeping rivals, Paul Jones and Michael Poke, are continuing to improve.

Jones’ knee brace was removed on Tuesday, although he still faces two months on the sidelines.

While Poke will be out for another month.