Danny Cowley without coaching member of staff following Portsmouth coronavirus scare

Pompey are without goalkeeping coach John Keeley following a coronavirus scare.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 12:00 pm
John Keeley missed Pompey's weekend win over AFC Wimbledon following coronavirus scare. Picture: Joe Pepler

The long-serving member of the club’s backroom is presently self-isolating after coming into contact with somebody who had contracted the disease.

However, Keeley himself has been given the all-clear following a test.

Regardless, protocol dictated his absence from Saturday’s 3-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon.

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Instead, Michael Poke, the Academy’s head of goalkeeping, stepped up to stand in for Keeley, helping take Craig MacGillivray and Lewis Ward.

And Danny Cowley is expecting the 59-year-old to return to duty by the end of this week.

Pompey’s head coach said: ‘John has been in contact with somebody that had Covid so, as a consequence, we have to follow the covid restrictions and protocol.

‘He is absolutely fine, people will be pleased to know, he’s had a test which has shown he is totally clear and, rightly so, our protocol is in place.

‘I believe John will be with us later in the week.’

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Poke may be a familiar name to Pompey fans, having spent two years at Fratton Park after arriving in the summer of 2014.

However, during his time with the Blues, the keeper never made a first-team appearance, although spent plenty of time on the bench as Paul Jones’ understudy.

He later represented Eastleigh and Woking, before turning his hand to goalkeeping coaching, earning employment at Southampton.

At St Mary’s, the former keeper oversaw the 9-15 age groups.

He returned to Pompey in March 2020, quitting his Southampton role to take up an Academy job overseeing the under-18s and, at the time, a prospective reserve side.

Keeley is likely to return ahead of the final game of the League One season on Sunday, when the Blues host Accrington.

Victory would clinch a play-off spot for Cowley’s side.

Cowley added: ‘Michael Poke has been with us since Wednesday and been great.

‘It’s fantastic that he has been able to step in at such short notice and bring energy, enthusiasm and technical expertise to the group.’

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