Holmes out of Ebbsfleet trip

Ricky Holmes in action for Pompey at Westleigh Park. Picture: Mick Young

Ricky Holmes in action for Pompey at Westleigh Park. Picture: Mick Young

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Ricky Holmes has been ruled out of tomorrow’s trip to Ebbsfleet with a thigh injury.

The winger picked up the problem against Thurrock on Tuesday and, although classed as a niggle, will not be risked.

Andy Awford will also today assess Ben Close (hamstring) and Nick Awford (calf) before naming his team against the Conference South side.

James Dunne definitely returns, though, having sat out Thurrock, while Michael Poke is today set to resume training following a twisted ankle.

Ryan Taylor is also back after missing the Ship Lane fixture to attend a funeral.

Awford said: ‘Ricky has picked up a little niggle in his thigh, so there is no point risking him for tomorrow.

‘It’s nothing serious, just a little niggle.

‘Ben Close has a niggle in his hamstring, Nick Awford has a niggle in his calf and we will assess them to see how they are.

‘If there is any risk there is no point, there are enough players with us to cope. If it was the cup final tomorrow or a league game they would all be available but with it being a pre-season friendly there is no need.

‘Michael Poke did some work yesterday morning, if he can come through today’s session then we will have a look at that, or consider leaving him until Tuesday.

‘James (Dunne) trained Tuesday and yesterday and will be in the squad, Ryan (Taylor) was only away because he had a funeral to go to.

‘Jack Maloney will also be involved, we are upping minutes now and trying to find space for everybody to get a game and I didn’t want to put him on at Thurrock in a foreign position so chose not to use him.’

Ebbsfleet lost in the play-off final in the Conference South last season.

Awford expects them to be tough opponents for his team.

He added: ‘It will be another step up from the teams that we have played – and I don’t mean that disrespectfully.

‘Ebbsfleet will be a stronger test from what I have heard and seen.

‘Next week we will start giving players 90 minutes against Bournemouth and Charlton.

‘We have planned it quite well and it is all coming together.’

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