Pompey’s injury problems mount

Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dean Whitestone.

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Pompey’s injury list is mounting ahead of the play-offs.

Conor Chaplin and Ben Close have been added to the lengthy list of casualties going into Thursday’s clash with Plymouth Argyle.

Chaplin missed out against Northampton Town on Saturday with a knock, while Close limped off against the Cobblers in the second half.

They are added to a lengthy queue of players in the Blues treatment room.

Matt Clarke (groin), Ryan Fulton (hamstring), Marc McNulty (hamstring), Kyle Bennett (foot), Adam Webster (foot) and Alex Bass (knee) are all sidelined.

Assistant manager Leam Richardson is unsure of how it is going to pan out for Pompey’s walking wounded.

He thinks it’s going to take more time before the outlook becomes clearer.

Richardson said: ‘We need to see where we’re at with a few people.

‘It’s really day by day with people. We’re monitoring and pushing people in different directions.

‘We will probably not know until tomorrow or Wednesday where we’re going with it.

‘We’ll have to wait and see now.

‘We’re not sure with Ben (Close) if it’s cramp or something worse.

‘The list goes on but it’s part and parcel of where we’re at.’

Richardson refused to criticise Kieron Freeman for his reckless challenge on John-Joe O’Toole which saw him dismissed in the second half.

Freeman clattered the Northampton man two minutes after the restart, prompting a straight red card from referee Mark Brown.

That means the 24-year-old’s will play no part in the play-offs.

Richardson stated he had no view of the incident, so could not condemn the loanee from Sheffield United.

But he did admit the dismissal affected plans to take off players to protect them in the second half.

And the move does present a headache with Pompey now having no natural cover for Ben Davies going into the play-offs.

Richardson said: ‘I can’t comment because I genuinely didn’t see it.

‘That’s not shying away from it because if it’s a red I’d say and I’d tell Kieron.

‘It’s frustrating to be without him but we must dig in and deal with it.’

Richardson was pleased, however, with the displays of the young Pompey players used on Saturday, such as Jack Whatmough, Ben Tollitt, Adam May and Brandon Haunstrup.

He said: ‘The average age of the team on the pitch at the end must’ve been quite young. They were a big positive for us.’