Pompey Keene for old boy’s help

James Keene is hoping to extend his Fratton stay
James Keene is hoping to extend his Fratton stay
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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He’s the former Pompey striker who could hold the key to a current Blues hitman’s future.

Mathias Svensson will be remembered as a cult favourite with supporters, loved as much for the battering he gave opposing defences as the 12 goals he grabbed in 18 months at Fratton Park in the ’90s.

Now the former Sweden international could be the man to help current loan striker James Keene extend his stay at the club he first emerged at.

Svensson remains connected to the side he joined Pompey from in 1996 – Elfsborg.

And that just so happens to be Keene’s parent club at present.

With the 27-year-old’s loan coming to a close this week, Pompey are hungry to see Keene remain.

That’s after he hit his first goal at the third time of asking against Colchester on Saturday.

In theory, tonight’s clash with Scunthorpe could be the last game of his loan stay.

Keene doesn’t want that to be the case and neither do Pompey.

It could well be their old-boy Svensson who could make the difference.

Keene said: ‘I’m enjoying it here and finding my feet now.

‘I’m playing football but it hasn’t been discussed what will happen after Tuesday.

‘Elfsborg have been fantastic, a good club with good people.

‘Mathias Svensson came here and he’s there now. So they want to help out and help me out.

‘They know I love English football and love Portsmouth so they wanted to help out.

‘I’d like to stay because I’m finding my feet and just getting going.

‘My future is uncertain but I’m getting my chance to prove myself here.

‘Something may happen in Portsmouth or England.

‘I love playing football. That’s what I’m here to do.

‘When I first went to Sweden, Mathias was playing there.

‘He was my strike partner for two or three years when I went to Elfsborg.

‘Then he became a director there. He’s still involved in the club and goes to the games. He’s from the same town.

‘I know him well and learned a lot from him.’

Whittingham admitted he’s currently in the dark about Keene’s future.

The Blues’ caretaker boss is hoping he can stick around for this month – and will be looking to see if Svensson can help in achieving that.

Whittingham said: ‘I don’t know, what is happening with James. Hopefully it will be sorted out this week.

‘The last time we talked to his parent club they were happy for him to be here and wanted to monitor him.

‘Their league season doesn’t start until April so hopefully we’ll have him for February at least.

‘We don’t want him to leave us. Hopefully his goal is the first of a few.

‘Mathias was something to do with Elfsborg. He used to be sporting director there.

‘He has bridged a couple of gaps for us and got us in touch with a few people. He’s been helpful.

‘I think James’ performances over the past few games has been decent.

‘He’s been full of running and got the goal his efforts deserved.’