Striker back to boost Pompey

Conor Wilkinson

Conor Wilkinson

Swindon captain Nathan Thompson

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CONOR WILKINSON has provided Pompey with a timely striker boost.

But Paul Cook currently has no plans to recall Matt Tubbs.

I said “If I was you lad I would just go back to the hotel, you won’t better that!”

Paul Cook

Wilkinson trained with his team-mates yesterday, for the first time since joining on loan from Bolton – 44 days ago.

A groin injury picked up for the Republic of Ireland under-21s subsequently delayed his Fratton Park entrance.

However, the 21-year-old was a surprise presence at the Blues’ Copnor Road training base yesterday.

And Cook believes the striker is now under consideration for tomorrow’s visit of Northampton.

Wilkinson’s re-emergence is perfect timing for Pompey, having lost Michael Smith last weekend.

In addition, joint-top scorer Marc McNulty remains troubled by the hamstring problem picked up in the victory over Wycombe.

Now Wilkinson, who has already featured for Barnsley and Newport on loan this season, is in the Blues frame.

Cook said: ‘Conor trained yesterday with us for the first time.

‘He trained well, the first thing he did was bend one right into the top corner.

‘I said “if I was you lad I would just go back to the hotel, you won’t better that!”.

‘We’ll have a look at him to see if he can be involved in tomorrow’s game.’

Irrespective of whether Wilkinson makes tomorrow’s match-day 18, he will be available for the play-offs.

Pompey’s first leg against Plymouth takes place on Thursday – with the second on Sunday, May 15.

He will join Conor Chaplin and Adam McGurk as striking options in the continued absence of McNulty.

However, it is hoped the loanee from Sheffield United will return in time for the first encounter with the Pilgrims.

Meanwhile, Cook has opted not to bring Tubbs back from his Eastleigh loan – for now.

The 31-year-old is contracted with the Spitfires until the end of the month, although their season is now over.

It was hoped Tubbs could fire them through the National League play-offs, yet they have failed to qualify.

The striker was back training with Pompey on Tuesday following an Eastleigh spell which yielded two goals in 16 appearances.

However, Cook is holding off bringing an end to the loan arrangement with the non-leaguers.

He added: ‘Tubbs is still on loan at Eastleigh, unless you know differently.

‘I am not going to recall him at the minute – I am quite happy with what we have got.’

Tubbs continues to have a bleak future at Fratton Park, yet is contracted until the summer of 2017.

The last of his 17 appearances this season came in October during defeat at Notts County.

Tubbs has scored 14 goals in 40 games since joining from Bournemouth in January 2015.

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