CHRISTIAN OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN could still have a Pompey future.
That is the verdict of Kenny Jackett, who continues to hold the door ajar for the 20-year-old talent.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is currently out of contract following two years as a professional.
His sole first-team outing arrived in September 2015, appearing as a substitute in a 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Exeter.
However, the versatile performer’s recent progress has been checked by the broken leg sustained during a shooting session in April.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is still another three weeks from a training return, while didn’t travel with the squad to Ireland as he continues rehabilitation at home.
But Jackett is monitoring his fitness progress - with one eye on offered a new deal.
Pompey’s boss said: ‘Christian is still at the club rehabilitating, he will be three weeks off running and we will see how far that extends.
‘It’s important how he looks when he gets back, but we also need to give him enough time.
‘It was quite a serious injury and he needs time to rehabilitate, get back and then show his best.
‘There is still an opportunity for a new deal - and he has every chance.
‘We’ll see him back in training first, we’ll assess him, he’s three weeks off running so it’s not like things are going to suddenly change quickly within a month.’
Oxlade-Chamberlain has already missed the tour to Ireland, which consisted of Monday night’s match at Cork City.
Jackett utilised 22 members of his playing squad in that 4-1 victory, with goals from Christian Burgess, Jamal Lowe and Conor Chaplin (two).
Among them were first-year professionals Matt Casey and Dan Smith, along with academy youngsters Freddie Reid and Joe Dandy.
Unfortunately, the opportunity was not there for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has played in previous Pompey pre-seasons.
When he returns, Jackett has earmarked the academy product for a loan spell in non-league to aid his development.
Firstly, however, the Blues boss wants to assess his injury recovery.
He added: ‘He will need to come back training for at least a month.
‘With the non-league deadline longer, maybe he can go out and play some games as well.
‘Then, at the right time, hopefully play some reserve games for us.’