Fit-again pair to make reserves return

Andy Barcham in action for Pompey reserves against Bournemouth last month Picture: Colin Farmery
Andy Barcham in action for Pompey reserves against Bournemouth last month Picture: Colin Farmery
Nathan Thompson has been sidelined with a groin problem

Pompey handed defensive injury boosts

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Joe Devera and Andy Barcham will make their injury returns for the reserves this afternoon (2pm).

And the Blues will also feature a triallist in their starting line-up.

Devera has missed the past two first-team matches with a knock, while Barcham’s last outing was in the reserves’ 2-2 draw at Bournemouth last month.

The duo are among the substitutes for today’s visit of AFC Wimbledon in the Final Third Development League south division.

Yet both have been earmarked to feature in the second half for Alan McLoughlin’s side in a bid to get precious minutes under their belts.

It’s a strong squad for the fixture, which has been moved from Furze Lane to Fratton Park.

Many of the younger players who have featured for the reserves this season have been rested, with Thursday’s FA Youth Cup fixture in mind.

Mikey Harris’ under-18s travel to Thamesmead in the second round of the competition, after seeing off Plymouth 4-0.

Their reserve absence means today’s squad contains 11 players who have been part of Andy Awford’s first team this season.

They include Alex Wynter, who has lost his starting place following the loan arrival of Matt Fish from Gillingham last week.

Ben Chorley and Patrick Agyemang, who both appeared as substitutes in the FA Cup Aldershot humiliation, will also start against Wimbledon.

Johnny Ertl is earmarked for a central-defensive role, while Jack Maloney dips in from his Poole loan stay to feature on the right wing.

There is also a start for Nick Awford, who has not been part of the senior squad since making his debut at Plymouth earlier in the month.

He will partner Ben Close in the centre of midfield, with fellow home-grown duo Bradley Tarbuck and Fahad Rwakarambwe also named.

They will be joined by an, as yet, unnamed triallist as Awford weighs up whether to pursue any interest as he seeks to bolster his first-team squad.

For the first time this season, the reserves will play at Fratton Park – a switch from the previous home venue at the University of Portsmouth.

Supporters are asked to enter through the Fratton end gate, which will be open from 1.30pm ahead of the 2pm kick off.

Pompey: Poke, Wynter, Chorley, Ertl, Rwakarambwe, Maloney, Awford, Close, Triallist, Tarbuck, Agyemang. Subs: Devera, Barcham, Joseph-Buadi