Pompey winger looking for double fitness win

Andy Barcham. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2067)
Andy Barcham. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2067)
Pompey suffered a 3-2 defeat in the Carling Cup at Gillingham on September 20, 2005

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They have become injured brothers in arms.

But that hasn’t stopped Andy Barcham driving Ryan Bird to distraction on the road back to fitness.

The pair have been sharing long days at Fratton Park as they battle to ensure they are ready to return for pre-season training on June 26.

They have linked up with Tom Craddock and Marcos Painter, who is doing his rehabilitation with Pompey despite being released earlier this month.

Pompey’s medical team have been on hand for the quartet for the days working on their recovery.

Bird and Barcham have found themselves on the Fratton Park pitch for sessions with the other pair not quite as far advanced in their returns.

Both men have been battling thigh injuries and pushing each other along in their comebacks.

That’s gone as far as some pretty fierce competition – with games constructed by the backroom set-up being hard fought.

Barcham is claiming victory in the duo’s injury Olympics.

He said: ‘It’s been long days at the club getting fit.

‘We’ve been getting in at 10am and going right through the day.

‘We all get our treatment times.

‘It’s usually me and Birdy at the moment and we both go out in the afternoon.

‘It makes it a bit more entertaining and enjoyable.

‘The physios have been making little competitions for us, which makes it more enjoyable.

‘Birdy’s been a bit frustrated because he’s got his injury.

‘But he’s been getting more frustrated because he’s losing to me in competitions all the time! At least it makes it more entertaining!’

‘There’s been no-one at the ground either – so we have to bring in our own little packed lunches!

‘It’s like being back at school!

‘But the work now will pay off for us later.’

Bird and Barcham have had to eschew any jet-set travels with PO4 as exotic as it gets for them, while their team-mates sun themselves elsewhere.

Barcham is just appreciative there is a support system in place for them to utilise.

That will now be based at the University of Portsmouth with work under way to improve the Fratton Park surface.

Barcham said: ‘It is what it is. We’re lucky to have the physios in still and helping us.

‘We’ve been able to get the treatment we need.

‘I’d sooner be in getting it – because then we get the treatment we need and heal better.

‘I’d rather be in now than spread it out and then be injured for longer.

‘You’re best off coming in and getting it sorted.

‘I can get away with my family for a little bit at some stage and come back raring to go.

‘We’ve been on the pitch a bit but we are back down the university now it’s being relaid.

‘It’s nice to be out there running and kicking a ball again. I’m sure Birdy feels the same.’