Pompey boss weighs up role for returning duo

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KENNY JACKETT is being presented with a selection headache for Oxford.

And that’s something the Pompey boss welcomes as his crippling injury list finally shows signs of abating.

Nathan Thompson has served his four-match suspension Picture: Joe Pepler

Nathan Thompson has served his four-match suspension Picture: Joe Pepler

Gareth Evans returned to training today and is expected to be in contention for Sunday’s televised meeting with the U’s.

Evans has been missing for four games with the hamstring injury picked up after scoring in the 3-1 loss to Southend.

And he is being joined in the battle for a starting spot by Nathan Thompson, who has completed his four-game suspension.

Jackett has to weigh up their roles this weekend, coming off the back of the 2-0 win at Oldham.

That success arrived with the Blues picking up their first clean sheet in 16 games.

However the pair are utilised, Jackett is pleased with the fact he now has some extra options.

He said: ‘We have Nathan coming back and Gareth looks fine as well.

‘So there will be two added and they are needed as well, because, even from the bench, we haven’t had enough options.

‘That’s no disrespect to the lads on the pitch, but we haven’t had enough to close a game out or win us it.

‘You need options off the bench to either close games out if you are in front or get back into it.

‘With Evans and Thompson coming back we have established players and senior players to call on.

‘On Sunday against Oxford they will help us 100 per cent.

‘They are the two coming back and I expect them to be fully fit and available.’

With the trip to Bradford called off at the start of the month, Thompson will have been missing for five weeks by the time he returns on Sunday.

The four-game ban for his Southend dismissal follows the 27-year-old’s red card against Luton last November

Jackett feels Thompson’s absence has been felt by Pompey.

Jackett said: ‘I’m really pleased to have Thompson back. It seems like it’s been a really long suspension with the Bradford game being called off.

‘It’s his second red card so it was four games as well.

‘He’s had a good season for us and he will want to finish it off strongly.

‘He’s a very positive and a good influence around the club.

‘He can influence things and he’s one of the few players we have who can influence things in terms of taking on information, talking and making decisions on the pitch.

‘He has a lot of respect among the other players as well.’

- JORDAN CROSS