Pompey sweat on defender availability

Pompey skipper Aaron Mokoena
Pompey skipper Aaron Mokoena
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Oli Hawkins came off injured in the second half against Blackpool Picture: Joe Pepler

Striker adds to Pompey injury concerns

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Pompey are sweating on Aaron Mokoena’s availability for Saturday’s trip to Doncaster.

The Blues skipper is currently away on international duty with South Africa.

The Bafana Bafana have a home friendly with Burkina Faso in Rustenburg, near Pretoria, tonight.

He then faces a 12-hour journey back to England, casting doubt over whether he will return in time for the weekend.

It looks like it will be a close-run thing for Mokoena, who is expected to be in the starting line-up at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Any hold-ups, though, would provide another selection headache for Steve Cotterill, who already has Liam Lawrence on the treatment table.

The influential midfielder was pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad for last night’s clash against Wales with a calf problem.

Instead he stayed behind for intensive treatment.

Lawrence is now not expected to return to training until the end of the week at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Tal Ben Haim is away on international duty with Israel.

The defender returned to Pompey training for two days at the tail-end of last week.

He also took part in a fitness session with coach Chris Neville on the Fratton Park pitch before last weekend’s draw with Derby.

He is not expected to return to the club until he has featured for Israel against Serbia tonight.

Even then, it is highly unlikely the former Bolton and Chelsea man will be available for selection again.

Ben Haim continues to be in dispute with West Ham over an agreement to remain at Upton Park until the end of the season.

His last Pompey appearance was in May last year.