Striker expected to be fit for opener

Dave Kitson suffered a calf strain during training in America
Dave Kitson suffered a calf strain during training in America
Pompey's Brett Pitman celebrates after scoring his second goal in their 2-0 win at Oldham. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Oldham 0 Pompey 2: they said what?

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Dave Kitson is an injury doubt ahead of tomorrow’s friendly with Real Betis.

But Pompey expect the striker to be available for the season opener against Middlesbrough next Saturday.

The former Stoke man picked up a calf strain in training towards the end of the pre-season tour to America.

That ruled him out of the goalless draw with Charleston Battery on Wednesday night.

The setback is also likely to sideline Kitson for tomorrow’s Fratton Park clash with La Liga outfit Real Betis (6.30pm).

That is the only injury concern heading into the match, with Liam Lawrence safely coming through 80 minutes against Battery as he looks to prove he is fully recovered from an ongoing calf complaint.

Kitson’s complaint is set to leave Steve Cotterill with just Luke Varney and Kanu to choose from for his attack.

Cotterill said: ‘Kits has a bit of a thigh strain, other than that we are pretty clean.

‘He is the only one we may leave a touch longer. Betis might be too soon for him at the moment.

‘I don’t know yet, I don’t know. We’ll just see how it goes.

‘It might be a case of leaving him out of this one to recover.

‘We’ve still got Kanu, of course – he’s available.

‘He was on the bench the other night and has spent a lot of time on the bench, anyway. He’s not getting any younger.

‘But when he came on he showed some good bits of quality and we know what he can do.

‘I’ve said it a million and one times and I’ll say it again, it is a pity he is not 10 years younger.’