Kenny Jackett weighs up Haji Mnoga for Portsmouth first-team run in Callum Johnson absence

Haji Mnoga is pencilled in for a sizeable Pompey first-team run in the absence of Callum Johnson.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 6:30 am
Haji Mnoga was handed his second Football League start in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Gillingham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Johnson missed Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Gillingham with a calf injury collected at Oxford United.

He is expected to be out for up to three weeks, while James Bolton remains sidelined with strained ankle ligaments.

That opened the door for a second Football League start for Mnoga in Saturday’s fixture.

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The 18-year-old featured for 85 minutes before replaced by Jack Whatmough – and the youngster’s display impressed Kenny Jackett.

Pompey’s boss told The News: ‘Callum’s picked up a calf injury and will be out for 2-3 weeks.

‘James Bolton has a chance for Tuesday following strained ankle ligaments, we’ll see how he is on Monday.

‘There is no set time limit on it, he tried on Thursday and Friday, but it wasn’t right. With the weekend off and some anti-inflammatory tablets, we will see how he is on Monday.

‘For Haji, at 18 he should take Saturday’s performance as a positive. I’m very pleased with him.

‘It’s really difficult for him, there’s been no games to start him, but it happens now and again. You have to get on with it and he did very well.

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‘I think he has terrific athleticism, he can carry the ball out of defence and, to be fair to him, the more he can play the better he will do.

‘It was a slight concern after he was booked, but also at that time Jordan Graham was getting some crosses in and I wanted Jack Whatmough on the far post with his experience.’

Meanwhile, Ellis Harrison limped away from Fratton Park after suffering a knock.

The striker left the field on 59 minutes after colliding with Gills defender Jack Tucker as he challenged for the ball.

He was replaced by John Marquis in attack as the match finished all square.

Pompey will now assess the extent of the problem to his right knee ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Doncaster.

Jackett added: ‘Ellis has a really nasty knock to the side of the knee, which equates to a dead leg.

‘We will see in a couple of days how he is. He was in a bit of pain and it took a nasty bang.’

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