Pompey boosted by injury returns

Paul Cook is boosted by the returns of Jack Whatmough, Adam Barton and Gareth Evans as he weighs up his Pompey selection options.

Thursday, 4th August 2016, 3:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2016, 4:15 pm
Adam Barton Picture: Joe Pepler

Whatmough has been given the all-clear to start against Carlisle following last week’s hamstring scare.

The defender was withdrawn in the 33rd minute of the friendly at Bristol City, yet was today back in training.

Barton missed that Ashton Gate draw on Saturday with a tight groin, but was also involved in training action at Hilsea today.

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In addition, Gareth Evans continues to make good progress and has an outside chance of making the bench on Saturday.

However, the EFL Cup trip to Coventry on Tuesday evening represents a more realistic comeback for the midfielder.

Matt Clarke (groin) and Brandon Haunstrup (collarbone) remain sidelined, while Ben Close misses out with a hamstring injury.

But Cook is pleased with the depth of his squad to choose from.

He said: ‘Apart from Ben Close and Matt Clarke we are in a really good position player-wise and selection-wise.

‘Jack felt his hammy at Bristol City so we took him off as a precaution, but he is fine.

‘So is Adam Barton, who had a tight groin so we didn’t risk him in that game.

‘Gareth is going to need a week or two’s training, but we have integrated him into the squad.

‘Hopefully there will be a chance for the Coventry game, for sure the Crewe match.

‘He will certainly have a massive part to play in our season, he is such a strong player for us it is untrue.

‘We just have to make sure he gets a mini pre-season in now so will factor that into the games he plays.

‘But Brandon Haunstrup is out for another six weeks from now, while Ben Close has been feeling his hamstring.’

Clarke remains a long-term casualty for Pompey, having been sidelined since April with groin issues.

The summer arrival is presently running outside, yet has missed an entire pre-season in his rehabilitation.

Pompey’s boss added: ‘Matt has just started to pick his training up.

‘It has been a long one, but he is slowly getting better and presently jogging around the pitch.

‘However, there is no timeframe for when he may return.’