POMPEY ACADEMY boss Mark Kelly has spoken of his disappointment for Lewis Gill after the Blues striker was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken toe.
An innocuous training-ground incident saw the Waterlooville-based frontman fracture his fifth metatarsal (little toe) last week.
It’s massively disappointing for Lew at this moment in time but all we can try to do is pick him up and get him on with it.Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly
The timing could not have been any worse for the second-year scholar, who is bidding to earn professional terms with the club this summer.
Indeed, Gill had recently earned the praise of Academy coach Mikey Harris in the Sports Mail after ending a barren spell in front of goal with an impressive double in February’s 2-0 win over Watford.
But the frustrated teenager was forced to watch on in a protective boot as his team-mates extended their unbeaten start to life in Merit League 1 division to five games with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Barnet at Furze Lane on Saturday.
Kelly said: ‘It was a really innocuous one in training.
‘It’s a hard one and a hard time of the year to get an injury like that.
‘But, to be fair to the kid, he has approached it in the right manner.
‘He is down about it, obviously, because it is going to be two or three months out, which is going to take us to the end of the season.
‘It’s massively disappointing for Lew at this moment in time but all we can try to do is pick him up and get him on with it.’
The fact Gill’s injury was caused by a twist, rather than the force of a tackle is another source of frustration for the youngster – who has already enrolled on a recovery programme.
Kelly said: ‘It was as innocuous as it could have been in training, which sometimes they (metatarsal injuries) are.
‘It is not like he was going in for a tackle or anything, it was a little twist – a silly little movement and he has found himself where he is.
‘That will make it more frustrating for him.
‘But the backroom staff have got Lew into a programme straight away, which he is already undergoing.’
James Granger was the match-winner for the Blues at the weekend as they continued their fine start to the Merit League 1 campaign.
It was another free-kick to add to the midfielder’s growing collection, although his low, bobbled effort against the Bees was not quite as easy on the eye as his November goal-of-the-month effort in a thrilling 4-3 win over Swindon.
Kelly said: ‘In and around that area James has been scoring goals, so he is confident when he steps up to take them.
‘I don’t know if there was a deflection or a bobble that deceived the keeper but that kind of summed the pitch up.’
Pompey Academy are back in Merit League 1 action on Saturday when they travel to Luton (11am).