Pompey striker problems mounting

Ryan Bird is assessed by Steve Allen, left, after he was knocked out. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Bird is assessed by Steve Allen, left, after he was knocked out. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Pompey have been handed a striker headache in the wake of their AFC Wimbledon mauling.

Both Patrick Agyemang and Ryan Bird are concerns ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Scunthorpe.

And the saga surrounding the signing of Jake Jervis has still to be resolved.

That could leave David Connolly and Tom Craddock as the first team’s only fit strikers, with both men feeling their way back from injury.

Agyemang was withdrawn in the first-half at Kingsmeadow on Saturday with a reoccurrence of a thigh problem.

And his replacement, Bird, was taken off after the break after being knocked unconscious.

Whittingham said: ‘Pat is struggling with a thigh strain.

‘That is why he came off at half-time against Stevenage.

‘We gave it all week and he trained on Friday with no reaction, so we gave it a go.

‘Ryan was out cold. He was a bit groggy.

‘We’ll have to take care of him and Steve (Allen) will monitor him closely.’

Whittingham told The News on Saturday it was nearing a stage where Pompey would have to make a decision on whether to land Jervis.

That is despite there being no absolute clarity on whether they would have to pay his former Turkish side Elazigspor training compensation for the player.

Jervis had indicated the matter was now nearing a resolution.

But Whittingham explained there had been no further progress down that road, as of yet.

John Marquis’ time at Fratton Park is at a close, however, after he returned to Millwall with his loan stay finished.

Whittingham said: ‘We’re still hoping it can be done with Jake.

‘There’s nothing new. We’re chasing the clearance and that’s where it is.

‘John is finished now and heads back.’

Pompey made five changes on Saturday from the side who fell to a 3-0 defeat against Newport County in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last Tuesday night.

And Whittingham explained there will be more changes after Saturday’s woeful display.

He said: ‘There will be changes.

‘You hope the players out there will be able to step up.

‘But there wasn’t the desire there and we will do something about that.’

– JORDAN CROSS