Striker seeks Hreidarsson inspiration

Danny Webber is gunning for a first-team return
Danny Webber is gunning for a first-team return
Anton Walkes. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s Walkes set for fortnight absence

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Danny Webber is drawing inspiration from Hermann Hreidarsson in his bid for a first-team return.

The fit-again forward is back in Pompey training after almost a year sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

It has been a tough battle back for the 29-year-old after sustaining the injury against Spurs on March 27 last year.

Hreidarsson was injured in the same match, rupturing his Achilles tendon.

That injury could have ended the Iceland international’s career – yet he has returned to become a Blues regular once again.

Webber and Hreidarsson spent six months working alongside each other in the long fight for fitness.

Since then, the veteran defender has come back to start the past 11 matches and netted the winner against Sheffield United.

Now, Webber is determined to follow that same route back into Steve Cotterill’s first-team plans.

He said: ‘I’m coming back from a long-term injury and you have to be patient.

‘I remember Hermann’s first game back and he was nowhere near the level everybody knows – but that’s only because it’s a gradual process.

‘Now he’s playing every game and you can see he is an important part of the team.

‘I am happy for Hermann because I see the work he puts in, day in, day out, and that helps inspire me.

‘When he was injured, he put in a lot of hard work and we did it together.

‘I love watching Hermann play, I love his passion. I loved it when we were in the gym together, we bounced off each other with our energy.

‘Some days he would have energy, another day I would have energy and we bounced off each other. To watch him out there now gives me a buzz because I know I am not a million miles away.

‘The fact Hermann is playing so well – he has been excellent – and the back line has been so solid, bodes well for the future.’

Webber has been back in full training for the past fortnight. That represents the crucial final step in what has been a long fight back.

Now he must steadily regain his sharpness to push for the first team.

His potential availability couldn’t be more timely to Cotterill with eight matches remaining.

With the play-offs a realistic possibility, Webber could play a crucial part.

But the former Sheffield United man, who is out of contract in the summer, is not setting any bold targets.

He added: ‘I’m not going to say when I’ll be back in the first team.

‘You have to be patient. Sometimes it’s easy from the outside looking in thinking “oh well he’s not back, it should have been six months”.

‘It depends on the person and how they react. Whether it’s the right time or not, you have to listen to your body a little.’