Pompey handed Ciftci boost

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has been looking for the right blend of youth and experience. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss bidding for right blend

Pompey have been boosted by Nadir Ciftci's return to training.

But John Utaka sat out yesterday's session at the Blues' Eastleigh training base as he received treatment for his hamstring problem.

Ciftci missed out at Nottingham Forest on Saturday after picking up an ankle injury in training last Friday.

But he took part in yesterday's session along with the rest of his team-mates.

That's a lift for Steve Cotterill and his woefully-limited squad, with Ciftci's absence against Leeds on Saturday another potential blow to the hits the Blues boss has already suffered.

Utaka missing out against the high-flying outfit could present a major issue, however.

Aaron Mokoena starts a two-game ban this weekend after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season at the City Ground. Dave Kitson also sits it out as he serves the second game of his three-match suspension for his dismissal against Brighton.

Ricardo Rocha was on the bench against Forest on Saturday but was still feeling the hamstring injury he picked against Hull at the start of the month.

The defender suffered a grade-one tear against the Tigers but was okay to be put through his paces yesterday.

Rocha's availability would mean he would more than likely come in as a straight replacement for Mokoena against Leeds.

Greg Halford is back in the equation after finishing a suspension and linking up with Pompey again on loan from Wolves until the end of the season.

Utaka came off with 18 minutes remaining against Forest after putting in a decent shift as he returned to his favoured striking role.

The 28-year-old's pace was missed as an outlet for his team as the home side chased the game and defended their 31-match unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, Hayden Mullins' cracker against Watford last October has been voted Pompey's goal of 2010.

The midfielder's wonder 30-yarder helped the Blues to a 3-2 victory.

Mullins' goal will now go forward as the club's entry for the Mitre Goal of the Year.