Portsmouth boss reveals real reason behind former Charlton & West Ham midfielder's surprise inclusion at Cambridge

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John Mousinho has spelt out the reason behind Jay Mingi’s surprise Pompey appearance at Cambridge’s Abbey Stadium on Saturday.

The head coach also revealed the 22-year-old is closing in on a return to the squad – despite missing out on a place on the bench against the U’s.

The midfielder travelled with Mousinho’s men for their 1-0 victory at the weekend, acting as 19th man.

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The former Charlton & West Ham youngster is yet to feature under the new head coach but has amassed 26 outings in all competitions this term in his breakthrough season at Fratton Park.

Mousinho is keen to add to that figure between now and the end of the season.

And to do that, he took the unusual step of including Mingi in his travelling party, despite knowing that he had no intention of playing him.

‘Jay’s closing in on a return,’ Mousinho told The News.

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Jay Mingi was Pompey's 19th man on Saturday at Cambridge.Jay Mingi was Pompey's 19th man on Saturday at Cambridge.
Jay Mingi was Pompey's 19th man on Saturday at Cambridge.

‘He travelled with us but he was never going to be available for selection.

‘It was just one thing we wanted to do to get him back in and amongst the squad, back in and amongst the feel of travelling and being back into the Saturday-Tuesday guide of what goes on throughout the season.

‘It’s really important for him because it’s the next step of his recovery, so we are really looking to step things up with him.

‘It’s been great to have that boost with players coming back, it was like new signings having Joe Rafferty, Louis Thompson and Tom Lowery back from long-term injuries.

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‘Jay has been out for a while, Clark (Robertson) has been out for a while and we’ve got these guys returning along with Marlon Pack, who is a few weeks away.

‘It’s a really exciting time to have some of these players, who have been very sorely missed coming back to action.’

Mingi’s last outing came during Danny Cowley’s final game in charge on New Year’s Day as Pompey fell to a 3-1 defeat to Charlton.

But with the midfielder stepping up his recovery, Mousinho is optimistic he will be fit to be involved in some way against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

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When asked if he would feature at Barnsley on Tuesday night, he head coach added: ‘Maybe Saturday after a week’s worth of training.

‘We’ll have a look if he’s available for selection from a medical standpoint but we don’t want to rush him.

‘Like with Tom and Clark, we’re just taking our time making sure everything is right.’