Pompey handed Lawrence fitness boost

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

Striker omitted from Pompey team photo

Liam Lawrence is poised to declare himself fit for the weekend trip to Nottingham Forest.

The influential midfielder limped off with a hip injury in the last few minutes of the Cup defeat against Brighton.

Along with Ricardo Rocha, he has sat out training so far this week.

But early indications suggest he will be ready to face seventh-placed Forest on Saturday.

And for Steve Cotterill, it is a much-needed boost from his goal-scoring midfielder.

Club physio Steve Allen said: 'Lawrence has a grade-one muscle injury, which is not too bad.

'He'll be fit for Saturday, I'm sure.'

In addition, Rocha is pushing for a return from his hamstring injury.

The Portuguese defender limped out of the action against Hull and missed the FA Cup clash against Brighton as a result.

Allen added: 'Rocha will be back in training by the end of the week and will hopefully be near full-fitness for Saturday.

'Realistically, his chance of playing is 50/50.

'We been very lucky with injuries. In the first half of the season, we probably had the most respectable injury record of any club in all four divisions.

'With a small squad, sometimes you need that luck.

'We have struggled with the amount of fixtures over Christmas but suspensions have hit us most.

'With such a small squad, even a few injuries can potentially catch up and hurt us.'

Meanwhile, Danny Webber is due to start training with the Blues again next week, pushing for a potential February first-team return.