Forget Christian Burgess, there could be another fairy-tale ending to this epic Portsmouth season

Bryn Morris hasn't played competitive football since April 2019, when he faced Accrington. Now he's back. Picture: Joe PeplerBryn Morris hasn't played competitive football since April 2019, when he faced Accrington. Now he's back. Picture: Joe Pepler
Bryn Morris hasn't played competitive football since April 2019, when he faced Accrington. Now he's back. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens perched on the edge of the physio table, tears in his eyes clearly evident, as the promotion party roared around him.

The Irishman’s final afternoon in a Pompey shirt had seen him crowned The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season – and claim the League Two title.

The perfect send off ahead of his pre-planned switch to Sheffield United in that summer of 2017.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Similarly, it would be wonderfully fitting for the ever-popular Christian Burgess to mark his farewell by steering the club back into the Championship with his final Blues breath.

Certainly there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Footballing fairy tales don’t often occur, yet perhaps there is another glorious plot line developing elsewhere at Fratton Park.

In Bryn Morris, Pompey possess a player who has not featured in competitive action for almost 14 months.

But maybe, just maybe, he could inspire a decisive presence in the forthcoming play-off campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Morris has emerged through football’s lockdown as a newly recognised 24-year-old and, crucially, a potential first-team pick for Kenny Jackett.

Now spared injury, the enforced delay has allowed the former England youth skipper to drive ahead with fitness work in attempts to catch up with Blues colleagues.

Jackett has long spoken of his admiration for Morris’ natural energy levels, often regarding him among the fittest in his squad.

Subsequently, the midfielder started both friendlies against Reading and Brentford during the build-up to this Friday’s play-off semi-final opener against Oxford.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In terms of sitting central midfielders at his disposal, Jackett has Tom Naylor, Ben Close, Cameron McGeehan – and now Morris.

As skipper and a trusted force, Naylor represents an automatic choice. Of the rest, Morris is a dark horse and undoubtedly unfancied by the vast majority of the Fratton faithful.

Still, he’s back in the manager’s eyeline, offering an intriguing option to a match-day squad which has been boosted to 20 personnel in the current climate.

Morris’ Fratton Park impact has been devastated by injury since his January 2019 arrival. There were just eight appearances and one goal before the most recent setback, yet still glimpses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With Jackett operating with a fully-fit 24-man squad at present, third-choice keeper Duncan Turnbull and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild can expect to miss out on Friday.

In addition, expect a defender to also make way as numbers are trimmed, with a sizeable amount of three left-backs and two right-backs available.

Up front, John Marquis, Ellis Harrison and Oli Hawkins are the only conventional centre-forwards on the Blues’ books, particularly with Brett Pitman’s exile continuing. There will be no more pruning in that department.

Finally, there’s packed midfield options, with Morris among them. Something needs to give.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He could well miss out altogether, having entered so late into the season – but you never know. The alternative may be play-off involvement from the bench at least.

What a comeback that would be. A true fairy-tale ending for the luckless former Middlesbrough man.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit our Subscription page now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.