Portsmouth boss buoyed by timely injury returns, with ex-Millwall man in Bolton frame after breaking his back

Pompey’s playing squad finds itself in excellent health at last as Danny Cowley plots negotiating eight games in 26 days.

Monday, 4th April 2022, 12:24 pm

And Shaun Williams is under consideration for Bolton duty having recovered from what could have been a season-ending injury.

It has been more than a fortnight since the Blues were last in League One action, a period of frustrating inactivity which has allowed the injury list to clear up.

Aside from Kieron Freeman and Reeco Hackett, Cowley has the rest of his squad to choose from for tomorrow night’s trip to Bolton (8pm).

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

While among those at his disposal is Williams, who fractured two bones in his back during a second-half incident against Charlton in January.

Cowley told The News: ‘This is the best it has been post-August. We now have some of the injured players not just back, but some are close to match fitness.

‘Kieron Freeman and Reeco are, as people know, long term, but everybody else is available.

‘Shaun (Williams) has been training throughout this period (since Wycombe), and is ready for Bolton, so that has been a real positive.

Shaun Williams is available for Pompey after recovering from a fractured back. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘He’s a very experienced player who has had an outstanding career and, ultimately, loves the game.

‘He has worked really hard behind the scenes to get himself back in a position where not only is he able to get over a nasty back injury, but return to match fitness and is always a good trainer.

‘Shaun’s available for us as we go into a run of games which is ridiculous. It’s five games in 15 days, which is going to be incredibly tough and we need the whole squad.

‘He is 35 but is actually incredibly robust and able to suck up the load of training and games very, very effectively, so we are happy with where he’s at.’

Cowley estimates there are now 18 players to choose from, a significant increase on the 14 senior professionals available on occasions in February and March.

And he’s encouraged over the selection options now at his disposal.

He added: ‘We’ve been able to get some good physical returns from players, particularly the front end of this period.

‘In the last couple of days we’ve been able to taper in and prepare for the Bolton game.

‘We are now in a position where we probably have 18 to pick from – 16 outfield and two goalkeepers – and that’s robust.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 9p a day, thanks to our 30%-off transfer window deal.