Wes Fogden has told Pompey boss Andy Awford: I’m ready for a start.
The popular midfielder made his long-awaited comeback as a 78th-minute substitute in the 1-0 defeat at Northampton on Tuesday, after returning from the knee ligament injury he suffered in pre-season training.
While he has yet to come through more than 60 minutes, even in the reserves, it’s unlikely that Awford will throw him straight into his starting XI for tomorrow’s League Two trip to Accrington Stanley.
But Fogden believes the only way he is going to get fitter and sharper is by playing more minutes on the pitch.
He said: ‘I would love to start but I don’t know how long I would last.
‘I feel ready and I think I’m at the stage now where I will only get fitter with minutes on the pitch.
‘I’ve played 60 minutes in the reserves but I’m sure an extra bit of adrenalin would probably help get me through a game.
‘Even when you have been playing every week there are some days when you feel better than others.
‘For the first week or two, when I got into back training, there were some big tests that you have to come through.
‘You feel a little niggle here and there and you think “Is that going to be okay?”
‘But once you overcome them, I think you get to know what you are going to feel and what you’re not.
‘Now, as the weeks have gone on, it is feeling better and better and I’m feeling more confident with the injury every day.
‘I think the knee is definitely strong enough. The physios have set me an amazing programme that I stick to and that leg is now feeling stronger than it did before, to be honest.’
While it’s a welcome boost to have a player of Fogden’s quality available again, it’s also a tricky decision for Awford in trying to accommodate the former Bournemouth man into his current 3-5-2 system.
I feel ready and I think I’m at the stage now where I will only get fitter with minutes on the pitch.Wes Fogden
Fogden impressed in a forward position, playing off Ryan Taylor, at the end of last season but Jed Wallace is now thriving in a similar role.
And although the 26-year-old preferred to leave the decisions to the manager, he has no qualms about playing in a different position for the side.
Fogden said: ‘I don’t know what the answer would be. That’s down to the manager.
‘He has stuck with the same formation for the past six or seven games and it has been quite successful.
‘If the team is successful, nobody can really complain.
‘Whatever the manager decides, the players get on with it and do the jobs we have been asked to do.
‘I’ve played pretty much everywhere and I have played as a wing-back in the past. I think the only position I haven’t played is centre-back!
‘But wing-back is probably one of the positions where you need to be at your absolute fittest.’