KENNY JACKETT has reassured Stephen Henderson he will have another opportunity to stake a Pompey future.
The keeper has been ruled out for up to two months having sustained a thigh injury on his debut.
I feel in the long run he can give us some calmness, some maturity, some experience and some informationKenny Jackett
Jackett is confident the 29-year-old will be available before the season is over – but has warned a gruelling fight for fitness lies ahead.
It means Luke McGee will return in goal at MK Dons next weekend, while moves to loan out Alex Bass have been put on hold.
In the meantime, Henderson will remain at Fratton Park to undergo his rehabilitation rather than heading back to parent club Nottingham Forest.
And Pompey’s boss anticipates a return to action during the existing loan spell.
Jackett said: ‘Stephen’s not had this injury before.
‘He has been fit and available all season playing under-23 games, so it’s one of those things which unfortunately happen.
‘We hope he gets over it pretty quickly.
‘I expect him to be back before the end of the season, it has to be an aim for him, and it will be months rather than weeks.
‘Stephen will still have a chance in the future to come back and prove himself.
‘He has a lot of assets and since being away from the club has been keen to come back and keen for a chance and an opportunity.
‘He is frustrated, but that’s football life and he must now get himself fit now and work hard to get back in the team.
‘On Saturday, the first goal has gone through a number of people, including Stephen, but he did come for some good crosses, which is something we haven’t necessarily had.
‘I feel in the long run he can give us some calmness, some maturity, some experience and some information – and hopefully more clean sheets than we’ve had, certainly recently.
‘I know he wasn’t here very long in his first spell, but he was really happy at Portsmouth and wants a chance.
‘That’s a good thing, that’s something I like, I am sure he will get fit and go again.’
Pompey have endured wretched luck with injuries to loan players this season.
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis has been sidelined since the first game of the season, while Damien McCrory managed three matches.
Stuart O’Keefe, who has been absent since December, is anticipated to return in April.
Now Henderson must battle back from his injury blow and reclaim a first-team spot.
Jackett added: ‘There’s nothing anybody can do other than Stephen getting his head down, working hard and making sure he turns the loan into a positive by getting back in the team at some stage during the season.
‘Potentially he could complement McGee very well in that particular department and we will have to wait now to see if that’s the case.
‘It’s one of those things and he has to get his head around it now. You have to do that quickly and be determined to come back.’