Pompey set to run rule over triallists
Pompey will look to conclude their summer recruitment as they throw their doors open to triallists next week.
Non-league pair Michael Bryan and Ryan Bird will join the rest of the first-team squad for pre-season training on Monday.
And the Blues are still waiting to hear whether Ricardo Rocha will be keen to link up with them again next season, as Guy Whittingham’s side bid to bounce out of League Two at the first attempt.
Bryan will train with Pompey next week after plying his trade at Southern League outfit Corby Town last season.
The 23-year-old has Football League pedigree, however, after coming through the ranks at Watford and being released by QPR as a teenager.
Bryan has also picked up two full Northern Ireland caps and has represented his country at age-group level.
The winger had a trial at Bournemouth earlier this year before switching to Corby following spells at Brackley Town and Daventry.
Bird will return for a second trial at Pompey after impressing during a period with the Blues last season.
The striker has established himself as one of non-league football’s hottest goalscoring properties at Burnham Town.
The 24-year-old smashed in 41 goals last season as his side stormed to the Southern League division one central title.
Despite the fact that is four tiers below the Football League, a host of sides are keeping tabs on the 6ft 4in hitman, with Wycombe, Newport and Mansfield all said to be keen on the forward.
Whittingham knows exactly what it takes to step up into League football after operating at non-league level.
He believes Bird deserves the chance to show he can do that.
The Blues boss is keeping an open mind over the triallists, however.
Whittingham feels it’s important not to raise expectations too high when it comes to those aiming to earn a deal.
He said: ‘There’s a couple of players coming in.
‘It’s a chance for them to impress and a chance for us to have a look at them.
‘Michael is one who has been mentioned and he has played at League level before.
‘Then there’s Ryan who was with us last season. We’ve invited him back to have another look at him.
‘It reminds me of myself a little bit. He’s scoring goals at non-league level and it’s a good age for him to come in.
‘He seems a nice guy and there’s nothing for either of us to lose in having a look at him in pre-season.
‘If it’s doable and there’s room to do something, it may work out. We’ll see.
‘If he’s scoring the goals he has, you know he’s a finisher and, from experience, I know if you play with better players you’ll improve.’
Meanwhile, Liam Walker’s return to Pompey has been delayed as he turns out for Gibraltar.