Pompey winger set for return against Walsall

Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks
Milan Lalkovic in pre-season action against the Hawks
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey skipper lifts lid on injury issues

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Milan Lalkovic will make his Pompey return against former club Walsall.

The winger is back in the reckoning having proven his fitness following an ankle ligament injury.

Lalkovic came through training this week with no further issues, although was not considered for the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Fulham under-21s.

Instead, Kenny Jackett is eyeing up including him in his 18-man squad for tomorrow’s visit of the Saddlers.

Lalkovic has not featured in a competitive game for Pompey since January.

However, he had been pencilled in for inclusion on the opening day against Rochdale – only to collect an injury in training during the build up.

Now he’s fit – and could feature against the team he made 93 appearances and scored 14 goals, before joining Pompey in the summer of 2016.

Jackett said: ‘Milan has been training this week and been okay.

‘I have been optimistic all week that by the Saturday he will be fine, although Fulham was too soon for him.

‘In pre-season games he did okay and has played a lot of games in League One.

‘I have seen him at Walsall, where he particularly played very well, and I do feel in a number of positions he can help us this season.

‘I am expecting his ankle to be okay by tomorrow and he’s in the 18.

‘Walsall are a young, energetic and enthusiastic side, which is a trademark in League One. If you give them time they can play good football.

‘They’ve established themselves in League One and bought and sold good young players, which is a good model. We would like to do that ourselves, although maybe with bigger potential at our club.’

The Blues have no fresh injury concerns for tomorrow, with Matt Clarke and Nathan Thompson still sidelined.

In addition, Jamal Lowe serves the final game of his three-match ban.

Ben Close is also available after being forced off against Fulham under-21s with cramp.

Jackett added: ‘I thought Ben played well in the 10 position, he’s a good footballer.

‘It’s a shame he came off with cramp because I took Carl Baker off to give Ben a chance in his central midfield slot. I would have liked to have had a longer look at him with Adam May.

‘He didn’t do too badly at all, though.’

– NEIL ALLEN