Holmes: move almost didn’t happen but Blues gamble paid off

Ricky Holmes in action during the 1-1 draw at Torquay Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes in action during the 1-1 draw at Torquay Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Ricky Holmes concedes he was a Pompey summer gamble.

Yet the winger believes he has conclusively proven his recovery from the injury which, at one point, threatened to scupper his Fratton Park move.

The 26-year-old was the first pick of Guy Whittingham’s reign as permanent Pompey boss in a summer of rebuilding.

However, concerns over the foot injury which ended his Barnet season in February dogged a potential switch.

The long-running saga was brought to a close when Holmes penned a two-year Pompey contract – almost two months after talks began.

The ex-Chelmsford man was well aware he needed to convince plenty over his fitness.

And with 11 starts so far this season, the hard-working attacker is adamant the point has been proven emphatically.

‘It must have been hard for the club because I didn’t get time to make out I was fit,’ said Holmes.

‘When I spoke to Guy first of all at the end of April, I still hadn’t been signed off by a specialist.

‘I can understand why it didn’t happen at the time. It was a gamble.

‘They spoke to my specialist and he said “Look, he’s stronger than someone who hasn’t broken it before” as I now have the metal in my foot.

‘It was still a gamble but, thankfully, it paid off. Working hard is first and foremost for footballers – and that’s what I thrive on.

‘I had the one set-back at Havant in pre-season. I trod on a little sprinkler on the pitch where they hadn’t put the turf in and it was a minor knock.

‘I had done all my rehab up until then, and once I got over the line and came back from that there has been nothing – I have trained every day.

‘Having spoken to my specialist, I didn’t have any concerns I would come back.

‘It’s like any break, once the bone is healed that is it. I have a wire in there which straps it together so you are stronger than ever.

‘It was frustrating because I had just got the all-clear and I was still getting it thrown at me that I had an injury where there was no injury now.

‘I was actually fully healed and had a long time to recover – and it hasn’t affected me since.’

Holmes’ energetic playing style and willingness to work hard have certainly backed up his belief the problem has gone away.

There have been no tell-tale signs of discomfort or pain during his Pompey displays to date.

Instead, he has displayed a talent at dead-ball situations and a desire to give absolutely everything to the team down the left flank.

He added: ‘I had a pin put in – loads of players have them now. The fifth metatarsal was going around like wildfire for a couple of years.

‘I don’t know whether it was the boots or not which caused it. But mine managed to go. Now I have a pin in there and everything is fine.

‘It’s not something I have to look after, I don’t do anything, nothing at all.

‘Literally, the bone has healed, everything has healed around it and the fracture site has gone.’