Pompey to assess Poke before Cornell future decided

Michael Poke. Picture: Sarah Standing
Michael Poke. Picture: Sarah Standing
  • Poke fit again following seven matches out through injury
  • Keeper yet to make Pompey first-team appearance following summer arrival
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Pompey will wait to find out if there is any reaction to Michael Poke’s back issue before deciding on the loan future of David Cornell.

The goalkeeper returned for the reserves on Tuesday, helping them to a 1-0 victory over Peterborough.

This time of year you can’t take a risk in that department so whether David stays is a decision to be made over the next week or so

Paul Hardyman

Poke has missed Pompey’s last seven matches after the complaint flared up in training on the eve of the trip to Accrington Stanley.

Initially, first-year Academy scholar Alex Bass served as Paul Jones’ back-up on the bench.

However, Cornell soon arrived from Swansea for a month’s loan which expires at the end of next week.

Now Poke is back and was given the nod ahead of both Cornell and Bass to feature in the reserves against the Posh.

It means he is on the way towards first-team availability.

Firstly, though, the Fratton Park medical staff will assess if there have been any set-backs for the 29-year-old.

First-team coach and reserve boss Paul Hardyman said: ‘I’m really pleased for Michael to see him back playing for the reserves (on Tuesday).

‘He has had a back injury but didn’t show any signs of that, which was good.

‘We are just waiting to see if there is any reaction and if there isn’t, then he is back in contention for either the bench or chosen to play.

‘Obviously when you come back you want to do well and, as a goalkeeper, what is right for him is keeping a clean sheet, which he achieved.

‘David Cornell is an option for the rest of the season and might now go back, but you don’t know.

‘This time of year you can’t take a risk in that department so whether he stays is a decision to be made over the next week or so.

‘But we were really pleased with Michael (against Peterborough), he saved two right on the line which displayed good goalkeeping and good positioning.’

Poke joined Pompey on a free transfer in the summer having turned down the offer of a new contract at Torquay.

He is yet to make a first-team appearance, however, with Jones the undisputed Fratton Park number one.

Jones has appeared in all 47 of the Blues’ fixtures this season and has impressed in his maiden season.

Bass has occupied the bench on four occasions, spread over two spells when Poke has been sidelined through injury.

Peter Brezovan had a stint as back-up in August, while Cornell has been among the substitutes for the past five matches.