POMPEY fear Stuart O’Keefe could be absent from their busy Christmas schedule.
The midfielder suffered an adductor strain against Bury and misses tomorrow’s trip to high-flying Shrewsbury.
sometimes you don’t want to be saying how long players are out because you are then telling the opposition!Joe Gallen
That fixture kicks off a hectic period of four matches in 10 days for the Blues.
Ben Close will replace O’Keefe at the New Meadow, marking his own return to the starting XI following injury.
And Joe Gallen admitted his concern whether the loanee from Cardiff would feature during the festive period.
Pompey’s assistant boss said: ‘With Stuart, he was passing the ball forward and someone caught him with a block tackle.
‘He has picked up a strain in his adductor as a result, which will keep him out for not too long – but a little while.
‘We will have to see, we could do with him back pretty quickly.
‘I am a pretty sure there’s a chance that he could miss the games over the festive period.
‘But sometimes you don’t want to be saying how long players are out because you are then telling the opposition!
‘I do understand that everyone wants to know, but it’s safe to say we will have a look at Stuart for Boxing Day.
‘Stuart’s really disappointed that he is going to be missing now for this one (Shrewsbury) knowing that Ben Close is coming in – and everyone knows how well Ben has done.
‘Now Ben is thinking “I had better perform because Stuart is going to be back”.’
A thigh injury kept Close out for two matches before a return as substitute against Bury last weekend.
Meanwhile, Oli Hawkins is in contention having returned to training from a hamstring problem, but Kal Naismith is still out.
– NEIL ALLEN