Defender to miss Pompey’s League Two kick-off

Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler
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MATT CLARKE will miss the start of the season as he remains sidelined by his groin injury.

The central defender has not played since April as he continues to be troubled by the complaint.

So far an operation has not been required and encouraging progress has been noted, yet the 19-year-old has still to train since his summer signing as part of the Adam Webster to Ipswich deal.

Pompey are presently well-stocked for centre halves, with Christian Burgess, Jack Whatmough, Tom Davies and Adam Barton able to feature there.

But the continued absence of Clarke is a blow to Paul Cook’s early-season plans.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Matt has been very stop-start but hopefully might resume training in the short-term.

‘Things are getting better but it is not as quick as we would have liked.

‘We are waiting for the second scan to correlate with the first and then take it from there.

‘He won’t make the start of the season, though, and hasn’t done any training.’

Brandon Haunstrup has joined Pompey’s casualty list after dislocating his left shoulder against Bournemouth.

Meanwhile, Kyle Bennett is continuing to nurse a knock to his left ankle, initially picked up against Bohemians.

However, there is brighter news on the absence of Gareth Evans.

The goalscoring midfielder is expected to join in with Blues training next week.

Cook added: ‘Gareth is coming on well and about a week away from joining in training.

‘He’s a good player. The depth of the squad is there for everyone to see and he becomes another good addition to that.’