In-form Portsmouth five set for international call-ups - but it's not all good news for resurgent Blues

Resurgent Pompey’s impressive form is set to warrant five international call-ups.

Monday, 14th March 2022, 2:00 pm

However, Danny Cowley admits that will leave them unable to even field a starting XI against Bolton on March 26.

The Blues face two-and-a-half weeks out of action following this weekend’s visit of Wycombe.

With Rotherham’s Wembley trip in the Papa John’s Trophy forcing the cancellation of their April 2 fixture, the encounter with Bolton will now follow suit.

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That will leave Saturday, April 9 as the next scheduled fixture, with Pompey travelling to Cheltenham.

Gavin Bazunu (Republic of Ireland) and Joe Morrell (Wales) are to link-up with their countries, with the latter suspended but still required for a training camp.

In addition, Ronan Curtis has been named in the Republic of Ireland’s provisional squad alongside Bazunu for matches against Belgium (March 26) and Lithuania (March 29).

Elsewhere, back-up keeper Ollie Webber will be away on Northern Ireland’s under-21 duty, seeking to add to his three caps.

Ronan Curtis has been named in the Republic of Ireland's provisional squad for two upcoming games. Pictures: Malcolm Bryce/ProSportsImages

And completing the five could be Harry Jewitt-White, who has progressed through Wales’ age groups, making his under-18 debut against England in September.

Cowley told The News: ‘We think we are going to be without a game for two-and-a-half weeks if the Bolton game gets cancelled.

‘We would like to keep playing because we are in good form, but, ultimately, we can’t do that because if we did we’d be playing without Gavin Bazunu, Joe Morrell, Ronan Curtis and Ollie Webber.

‘We also hope Harry Jewitt-White is called up for Wales again. So that’s potentially five missing.

‘I don’t think we would be able to get an XI out for Bolton with the loss of all of those, so we don’t really have a choice in the matter.’

Bazunu and Curtis started Saturday’s goalless draw at Ipswich.

Morrell appeared as a second-half substitute, while Webber and Jewitt-White were unused off the bench.

All five will remain in the Blues’ squad for forthcoming games against Plymouth and Wycombe.

Cowley added: ‘The two-and-a-half week break should help us.

‘The players have given an incredible amount in a very small space of time, so it should allow us to find that balance between freshness and fitness.

‘That should give us a chance to freshen people up, to then allow us to have a good period on the training ground to be able to attack the final eight matches of the season.

‘Although, if we are honest, previously in the season when we’ve had these breaks it hasn’t helped us.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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