Former Portsmouth loanee makes 16-month injury return 

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Tareiq Holmes-Dennis has made his return to first-team action – 16 months after suffering a serious knee injury.

The former Pompey loanee was handed his Bristol Rovers debut in their 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Exeter on Tuesday.

It marked the left-back’s first competitive appearance since he limped out of the Blues’ League One curtain-raiser against Rochdale last season.

After arriving at Fratton Park on a season-long loan from Huddersfield, Holmes-Dennis donned the star & crescent for just 39 minutes.

He picked up a knee setback against the Dale, which ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Holmes-Dennis moved to Rovers for an undisclosed fee in the summer, although he’s had to remain patient for his debut.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis played only 39 minutes for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis played only 39 minutes for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

The 23-year-old was handed his Pirates bow, replacing Michael Kelly on the hour mark.

Boss Darrell Clarke was delighted Holmes-Dennis made his comeback.

He told Bristol Live: ‘It was brilliant and I am delighted. You could see even with the touches that he had he is a massive plus for us.

‘I know he is a very talented boy. We have got to be a little bit careful with him but he is going to get fitter and stronger with every training session.

‘The lad just needs a bit of luck now for the next month or two to stay clear of injuries, but it is certainly nice to have him as part of the group.’

Former Pompey academy graduate Theo Widdrington also made his senior debut off the bench in the clash against the Grecians. 

The 19-year-old was released by the Blues in the summer and subsequently moved to the Memorial Stadium.