Pompey talent poised for reserve return

Bradley Tarbuck leaves the pitch at Thurrock. Picture: Joe Pepler

Bradley Tarbuck leaves the pitch at Thurrock. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Bradley Tarbuck is pencilled in to make his Pompey comeback in today’s reserve fixture.

The promising striker has been sidelined since damaging ankle ligaments in a pre-season friendly at Thurrock.

Tarbuck sustained the injury just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute – and spent the next two months out of action.

The Emsworth youngster returned to Pompey training last week.

As a result, Andy Awford has admitted he is being considered for a substitute role in the reserves against Luton at Furze Lane (2pm).

And Pompey’s boss is delighted to see the prospect back playing again.

He said: ‘Tarbuck trained on Thursday, so it’s a case of he’s back so what do we do, grade him in?

‘There’s a reserve game today against Luton but you can’t just throw him in for 90 minutes, he’s been out nine or 10 weeks.

‘It’s finding that balance between being silly because you get excited as you’ve got a player back – but you have to manage them properly.

‘We will get him out there for some minutes against Luton and see where he goes from there.

‘After one or two weeks, I would have thought he would be available for selection for the first team.

‘Then it is down to him to get into the team. I am all about giving people opportunities and Brad will get his opportunity.

‘When the third goal went in against Dagenham, I grabbed Ben Close and went “get on there”.

‘Then it was disallowed and I sent him back to his seat, the kid was gutted!

‘At 3-0 I thought there was an opportunity to give a young player some minutes at Fratton Park in a great atmosphere.

‘I eventually put him on with 10 minutes to go because the game was finished anyway but I wanted to give him more.

‘The young lads will all get an opportunity from me if they are good enough.

‘Ben and Nick (Awford) 
have certainly shown enough, while Jack Maloney has started to come through a difficult spell.

‘They need to be ready, they need to play, they need to be given an opportunity.

‘I will give them that as long as they deserve it.’

Pompey kicked off their Final Third Development League campaign with a 3-2 victory over Peterborough.

Alan McLoughlin’s side raced into a 3-0 lead through Miles Storey, Andy Barcham and Ben Close.

The Posh netted two late goals to ensure a nervy finish.

Today’s side is expected to again consist of a mixture of youngsters and first-team squad members.

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