Pompey’s striking conundrum for Bees visit

Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook has been handed a striking selection headache for tomorrow’s visit of Barnet.

The Pompey boss’ attacking options have been hit by injury concerns over Noel Hunt and Curtis Main.

And that could leave a straight choice between Michael Smith and Conor Chaplin to lead the line against the Bees.

Hunt was kept out of training yesterday with the tight groin he felt during reserve-team action earlier this week.

As for Main, while he’s back training, he continues to wear a head bandage to protect 20 stitches received after a clash of heads against Wycombe.

Both are rated as doubts, leaving Cook to mull over Smith and Chaplin.

Smith didn’t have an enjoyable return to the first team at Accrington last Saturday, but netted twice as a substitute for the reserves against Newport County on Tuesday.

Chaplin also scored and created another in that 4-1 victory – and his inclusion would delight the fans.

Cook is weighing up the answer as he seeks to steer his team to a fourth straight Fratton Park win.

The Blues boss said: ‘With Curtis it is about what point we allow him to play again.

‘There is no hiding place for him heading the ball and if you are going to play up front on your own or with another one it’s tough.

‘Giving Curtis an extra game or two would be beneficial. Whether we decide to do that remains to be seen.

‘For Noel, coming off in the reserves was a precaution.

‘He had a little feel of his groin and didn’t train yesterday, but hopefully will be involved tomorrow.’

Ben Close felt his hamstring in yesterday’s session, while Drew Talbot remains sidelined through injury.