Defender set for Blues recall

Michael Smith has not been included in this year's team photo

Striker omitted from Pompey team photo

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Ibrahima Sonko is set to come in from the cold for tomorrow’s Swansea showdown.

The on-loan central defender has been unfortunate to find himself left out of the first-team picture, with Pompey able to name a maximum of only five of their six loanees in a matchday squad.

That has meant Sonko has not made a squad since February 19. But with David Cotterill ineligible to play against his parent club, Sonko will be back in the frame.

Asked whether the defender would return in the absence of the suspended Ricardo Rocha, Blues boss Steve Cotterill said: ‘Potentially yes, he could do.

‘He has not been involved for quite a while but he has been absolutely different class.

‘He hasn’t missed training, he hasn’t not supported the boys when it would be really easy for him to have gone the other way when I told him he couldn’t be involved.

‘He could be involved in the squad at the weekend.

‘But there is no point bringing him back and then binning him again on the Monday because then it looks like a bit of a humiliation for him.

‘I need to talk to him about that and see how he feels about that.

‘We’ve got a few injuries so he may be involved.’

A knee injury to Hermann Hreidarsson could yet keep the Iceland defender out, which would require a major defensive reshuffle from the back four who started the game at Cardiff last weekend.

But with such limited numbers at his disposal, Cotterill is unable to freshen the team over the busy Easter period.

He said: ‘I don’t want to give too much away because I don’t know where we are at myself at the moment.

‘We’ve got a couple of injuries that we have to contend with.

‘We’ve got people who haven’t trained all week and we need to see how they are.

‘Maybe we may have to wait until tomorrow.

‘I’m not so sure that we will be able to change it around too much but there may be a change or two between the two games.’

Cotterill also knows he has to guard against the opposition wanting a victory more than his own side.

He said: ‘That’s the danger for us at the moment in switching off with the games not being as important as they would be if you were fighting for promotion or relegation.

‘I don’t think it’s a case of playing any team at the wrong time but they have all had promotion or relegation on their minds.

‘If we had beaten Reading, it could have been us in the ascendancy.

‘That game damaged us and we’ve almost gone into mid-table obscurity.’