Injured Portsmouth defender handed welcome boost as he closes in on return date

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Defender had started 14 League One games for Pompey before suffering ACL injury against Chesterfield last November

Regan Poole has received a welcome boost as he closes in on a Pompey return.

That’s after Wales boss Robert Page allowed the injured Blues defender to join his latest international get-together ahead of their forthcoming friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia.

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The centre-back, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the Blues’ FA Cup first-round defeat at the hands of Chesterfield last November, is not part of the official 25-man squad that was this week announced for the games on June 6 and 9. Poole still has much rehab work to do before he can resume duties on the pitch, with late July/August pencilled in for a potential Pompey comeback.

Nevertheless, a desire to link-up with his Wales international team-mates to help with the long recovery process is something Page was more than happy to facilitate as he does his bit to get the former Lincoln man back fit. 

Poole, who is nearly seven months into his rehab programme, will have found his Blues training ground surroundings a lot quieter in recent weeks as his Fratton Park team-mates take a welcome break following their League One title-winning heroics. 

They’re not expected to report back for duty until the end of June - which is probably another reason why the former Lincoln man made the request to link-up with Wales.

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But the popular Fratton Park figure is not the only one keen to experience the camaraderie associated with a football dressing room. It’s clearly something Joe Morrell is missing, too, having been forced to sit out the Blues’ League One run-in because of a knee injury picked up against Oxford in January.

The midfielder also finds himself potentially in between clubs, after Pompey declined the option to trigger a 12-month extension in his contract which expires next month. Talks over an alternative PO4 deal continue. In the meantime, Morrell was also keen to link up with his Welsh pals as he looks to return to fitness as quickly as possible.

Confirming both players’ presence, Page said: ‘We planned for an EFL camp two weeks ago and we had to cancel it because so many of the lads planning for that camp got through to the play-offs so we cancelled that camp. But  two players in Regan Poole and Joe Morrell, wanted to join up (with the current group) so we’ve got two or three players on the camp at the minute not being able to play but want to be a part of it and that’s really important for us moving forward.’

Poole, who arrived at Fratton Park on a free transfer last summer, had featured 16 times for Pompey before injury struck against the Spireites. He had also just picked up his maiden senior Wales cap the month before the season-ending blow.

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Morrell had featured 31 times in all competitions before he was withdrawn from the action against Oxford on January 31 in the first half. The 27-year-old has 105 Pompey appearances to his names after arriving from Luton for an undisclosed fee in 2021.

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