Pompey sweating on Kitson fitness

Dave Kitson
Dave Kitson
Fan-funder Steve McLenaghan cuts the ribbon to officially open the Tifosy pitches at Pompeys Copnor Road training base. Also included are, from left, James Pollock, Tifosy, Blues chief executive Mark Catlin, manager Kenny Jackett, academy boss Mark Kelly and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome. Fans were also present at the opening ceremony

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Pompey are sweating on the fitness of Dave Kitson ahead of this weekend’s Barnsley clash.

The striker has missed the last five matches through illness and then a torn stomach muscle.

In his absence, Benjani has been given a run in the side, while youngster Marko Futacs has emerged into the first-team squad.

Kitson, though, warmed up with the team before last week’s friendly with FC Rostov.

He also took part in fitness routines on the Fratton pitch, during the interval.

Now the Blues are assessing whether he is ready to line up against the Tykes on Saturday night.

Should he return, it will provide more striking options and ramp up the potential to operate with two up front.

Futacs is also pushing for selection following his goal in the 2-0 win of FC Rostov.

The 21-year-old remains raw, yet impressed on that run out, suggesting he can make an impact.

One player who certainly will return for the Sky televised clash is Luke Varney.

The forward is back having served his three-match suspension after being sent off against Hull.

He is another central striking option should Pompey decide to go that way against Keith Hill’s side.

Meanwhile, Liam Lawrence and Tal Ben Haim are fit after the international break.

Lawrence didn’t make an appearance for the Republic of Ireland during their two Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Ben Haim was suspended so missed Israel’s fixture and is in the frame for Saturday.

However, the Blues are waiting to see if Erik Huseklepp reports back without injury, having featured for Norway in their win over Cyprus.