Striker recall gets thumbs up from Pompey boss

Pompey skipper Brett Pitman Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman believes his side can match their play-off rivals

Pitman’s promise to Pompey play-off rivals

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Kenny Jackett has no qualms over pitching Brett Pitman straight back into the action at Ewood Park.

Pompey’s leading scorer returned to training yesterday following surgery to remove a floating bone in his knee.

If he’s not fit for tomorrow, he will be very close.

Kenny Jackett

In a worst-case scenario, the striker was depicted as missing the entire month of October.

But Pitman is now firmly in the frame for tomorrow’s trip to Blackburn Rovers.

The nine-goal forward will again be assessed today, with the Blues hoping for no reaction to his knee.

And should the former Ipswich front man be declared fit, Jackett revealed he would be prepared to hand him a starting spot against Tony Mowbray’s side.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Brett looks okay. Yesterday, he took part in a whole session, quite a hard session, tailored for him and his recovery.

‘We’ll see where he is now, making sure the knee hasn’t swollen up and is stiff after his first day. The norm is to see if there is any reaction.

‘However, the operation was only removing two foreign bodies. The nature of the injury was there was a piece removed, it wasn’t taking any more away.

‘There has been a little bit of swelling on it in the last few days, whether it may need to be drained next week I don’t know.

‘But if he’s not fit for tomorrow, he will be very close.

‘If he is okay, I wouldn’t have any qualms about putting him straight back in. I would play him.’

Despite losing Pitman, the Blues haven’t been short of goals in his absence.

A total of seven have been netted in that four-game spell, with Oli Hawkins bagging three of them.

The continued potency of Pompey’s side without their talismanic striker has not surprised Jackett.

And he is convinced there remains plenty of goal quality within the squad.

Jackett added: ‘Since Brett has been out we have done okay – and it hasn’t surprised me.

‘I think we have good forward options. Curtis Main hasn’t had much of a chance, Kal Naismith from an early one hasn’t had many minutes, then there’s Kyle Bennett, Conor Chaplin and Oli Hawkins.

‘There are other good players here. If you are looking at the front-four positions there are quite a few options with established players.

‘Milan Lalkovic is the one who has played the least and been injured the most, but he has played 100 League One games. Not many in this squad has.

‘I would suggest that whatever the formation, there is a good amount of players in the front-four positions.

‘We want goals from all over. At Wolves we got the record at this level with 103 points – and the top scorer had 13.

‘Coming here, I inherited good options in the front-four positions as well as adding Pitman, Hawkins and Matty Kennedy.’