Pompey reserves to face Barnsley

Defender Adam Buxton is in line to make his return from injury against Barnsley Picture: Joe Pepler
Defender Adam Buxton is in line to make his return from injury against Barnsley Picture: Joe Pepler
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Barnsley stand in the way of Pompey reserves’ progression in the Premier League Cup.

The Tykes visit Westleigh Park on Monday (7pm) in the latest qualifying round of the competition.

The winner will book a spot in the group stages, where sides with Category One academies enter – the vast majority of which are Premier League clubs.

The Blues have already seen off Southend.

Last month they secured an impressive 2-1 victory over the League One side.

Conor Chaplin netted in each half of an entertaining encounter hosted by the Hawks, with a crowd of 240 in attendance.

Pompey are again hopeful of a good turnout for Monday’s match, with tickets priced at £5.

The Premier League Cup is a tournament for under-23 sides, although teams can include three over-age outfield players and an over-age goalkeeper.

In the case of Ian Foster’s line-up against Southend, the criteria was met through Liam O’Brien in goal, in addition to Gareth Evans, Adam Buxton and Amine Linganzi.

Effectively a reserve team, the Blues named a strong starting XI which also included Ben Close, Ben Tollitt, Adam May and, of course, Chaplin.

However, Buxton is still sidelined with the ankle injury he collected following an awful second-half challenge.

Although progressing with his rehabilitation, his injury absence – along with Drew Talbot and Calvin Davies – saw Evans asked to serve as right-back in Saturday’s victory over Crawley.

With Paul Cook again opting not to enter the reserve league this season, the cup competition offers prized match minutes for Pompey’s fringe players and those returning from injury.

In addition to the Premier League Cup, Cook intends to continue arranging friendlies to accommodate the needs of his playing squad.

Among those who could feature against Barnsley are Matt Clarke and Kyle Bennett, who have been short of playing time of late for different reasons.

Clarke last featured for 61 minutes in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Yeovil – his first outing since April following injury.

Bennett appeared in that same fixture, although has not been included in the Blues’ past two league squads.

There is an outside chance Buxton could also make his return to the side.