Pompey in last-ditch push for players

Toumani Diagouraga. Picture: Joe Pepler
Toumani Diagouraga. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Picture gallery: Pompey 1 Walsall 1

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Pompey are making a last-ditch push for playing recruits to boost their survival hopes.

Richie Barker is in the market for a striker and central midfielder ahead of today’s emergency loan window closure.

The deadline is 5pm and the Blues’ search has become even more crucial following the departure of Toumani Diagouraga.

Brentford invoked the 24-hour recall clause in his Pompey loan to take him back to Griffin Park following a midweek 3-0 defeat at Rotherham.

The Frenchman has emerged as Pompey’s best midfielder and skippered the side during the absence of Ben Chorley in recent weeks.

Simon Ferry is today expected to return to Pompey training, although Romain Padovani (calf) and Andy Barcham (thigh) have already been ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Newport County.

In addition, a goalscoring recruit remains crucial with Pompey netting just once in their last six matches.

Barker has rotated his four strikers in an attempt to discover a goal touch, yet a forward hasn’t netted for a month – across six matches.

Pompey are hunting for an experienced attacker from the Championship downwards in the hope of unearthing the answers to such long-standing concerns.

Speaking after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Rochdale, Barker said: ‘It’s possible there will be other arrivals, whether they will or not I don’t know, but possibly.

‘We’ve been made aware of one or two but whether it will come off or not I don’t know.’

Meanwhile, bringing Ryan Bird back to Fratton Park is another option open to the Blues as his goalscoring for Cambridge continues.

The 26-year-old netted twice in the U’s 3-0 victory at Salisbury last night, following-up his strike in the FA Trophy final against Gosport Borough.

Now with nine goals, there is a growing belief at Fratton Park that Bird should not be allowed to rejoin Cambridge for a third month’s loan.

Instead the in-form hitman could return to the Blues and help bolster their attacking options during the current goal drought.

However, with Patrick Agyemang, Ryan Taylor, Ryan Jervis and Michael Drennan, the former Burnham man may find his chances of first-team football hampered.

Cambridge will also be keen to retain Bird for their promotion push, although they are currently 14 points adrift of leaders Luton.

His return to Pompey would bolster a squad which continues to feel the affects of injuries, despite its large size.

Marcos Painter and Tom Craddock have been ruled out for the season, while Danny East, Padovani and Barcham are not yet in training.

Meanwhile, Ashley Harris, Dan Butler, Adam Webster and Jack Maloney are out on loan.