Cup-tied duo hand Portsmouth further FA Cup blow ahead of QPR visit
Pompey are already down to the bare bones in terms of senior forwards available for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie against QPR.
The Blues only have three definitely set to feature in Brett Pitman, Gareth Evans and Ronan Curtis.
The Blues are struggling otherwise, however.
Jamal Lowe is suspended after picking up successive bookings against Rochdale and Norwich in previous rounds.
Following their Carrow Road triumph, Ben Thompson and match-winner Andre Green have been recalled by parent clubs Millwall and Aston Villa, respectively.
David Wheeler returned to QPR yesterday but wasn’t going to be allowed to feature, regardless.
And now to make matters worse, Louis Dennis is an injury doubt.
Having had to wait patiently for his Pompey chance since arriving from Bromley last summer, a knee problem threatens his involvement.
If that’s the case, Dennis will be joining striker Oli Hawkins (calf) watching from the directors’ box.
With a scarce number of front men available, Kenny Jackett would naturally be looking at fledgling talents among the Fratton Park ranks to make up his squad.
Dan Smith and Brad Lethbridge would be the obvious two.
They’ve both been in rampant goalscoring form on loan at Bognor this season and been involved in Pompey’s run to the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final.
However, the duo are cup-tied and unable to feature.
Smith and Lethbridge have already represented the Rocks in the FA Cup this season.
The pair featured in Jack Pearce’s side’s 5-0 second-qualifying round win over Whitstable in September. Both were on the scoresheet.
Matt Casey is also in the same situation after playing for Gosport Borough in their 3-2 loss to Ramsgate.
Therefore, Jackett may put Leon Maloney on the bench against Steve McClaren’s side.
The forward has scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for Pompey Academy this season.
Maloney also made his first-team debut off the bench in the 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy third-round win at Southend earlier this month.
Other forward options include second-year scholars Oscar Johnson and Josh Flint.