Midfielder set for Pompey return

Ben Close is in the frame to return to Pompey's side against Wycombe Wanderers.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:55 pm
Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

The youngster has yet to make a League Two squad this season, with the Checkatrade Trophy serving as his only outings.

However, Amine Linganzi and Michael Doyle are both suspended for Saturday’s FA Cup visit of the Chairboys.

And that will open the door for Close to come back into Paul Cook’s midfield alongside Danny Rose.

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The youngster from Fratton has made 25 first-team appearances since emerging from the Academy.

That includes 11 starts under Cook last season, with the Blues boss an admirer of his passing talents.

Several niggling injuries and Pompey’s bulging 29-man squad have conspired to restrict his presence this season.

Nonetheless, the 20-year-old has caught the eye in Pompey reserves’ Premier League Cup progress, during displays against Barnsley and Southend.

Now he is earmarked to feature in the Blues’ first-round FA Cup clash with Gareth Ainsworth’s side.

Linganzi must serve a three-match ban following his tackle on Conor Newton in last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Cambridge United.

The straight red condemned the Blues to 10-men for the final 29 minutes, however, they stood firm to claim the triumph with a resolute defensive display.

That match also saw Doyle collect his fifth booking of the season, earning an automatic one-match suspension.

Pompey will also not be able to call upon Adam May, who is presently on a month’s loan at National League side Sutton United.

Meanwhile, Rose is poised for his first start since the 2-1 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers a month ago.