Triallist could be handed another Blues chance

Liam Lawrence has undergone further treatment this week
Liam Lawrence has undergone further treatment this week
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill has played down the significance of fielding non-league striker Bradley Bubb in a practice match for Pompey.

The Blues boss was cagey when asked about the identity of the triallists who played in Pompey’s behind-closed-doors 1-0 win at Reading during the week.

Bubb – a 23-year-old from Farnborough Town – has netted 36 times in 61 games for his club and was reported to be the scorer of the only goal against a strong Reading side on Tuesday.

But while Cotterill confirmed there were two players on trial, he refused to name them.

And while he played down any suggestions he would be looking to make an imminent signing from non-league football to boost his playing resources, he didn’t rule out the prospect of taking a gamble on a talented non-league footballer in the future.

He said: ‘I don’t know their names but there were a couple of them. They fitted in well.

‘One’s a free agent and one is with a club.

‘There is no big story with it. Each player has come in and we have had a look at him.

‘He’s probably going on trial somewhere else next week but if there is an opportunity to have another look at him further down the line, we would do that.

‘There is nothing we can do this season. Not many can make that jump but there are a few that can do it.

‘I’d like to be settled with my squad and then look down and find a couple of gems.

‘But we need that first level sorted before we can take that gamble.

‘It was a useful game behind closed doors and it was a good, competitive game. It was well worth playing.’

While Cotterill is clearly putting feelers out for the future, his primary concern is getting a side out for Pompey’s Championship clash at Doncaster Rovers this weekend.

And while influential midfielder Liam Lawrence only passed a late fitness test to play in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Derby as he battles an ongoing calf problem, Cotterill is hopeful he will have made further progress this week after missing Ireland’s 3-0 win over Wales.

Instead, Lawrence has undergone further treatment in an oxygen chamber in an attempt to speed the healing process this week.

Cotterill said: ‘We’re hopeful about Liam because he got through the game last week so I would be amazed if he didn’t make the starting line-up.

‘He hasn’t trained all of this week so it’s not ideal but we haven’t got a lot of choice in that regard.’