Portsmouth stalwart Barry Harris set to be denied Oxford United presence and spoil outstanding attendance record spanning 55 years

The coronavirus is set to keep Barry Harris away from Fratton Park for just the second time in over half a century.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:18 am

Harris is likely to be absent from the play-off clash with Oxford United - meaning he will miss his second home game since 1965.

The Blues stalwart has a near-perfect attendance record at PO4 stretching back 55 years, but will be forced to stay away to protect his health.

Harris has missed away trips in that time, but since returning from a stint in New Zealand with the merchant navy has always made all home first-team fixtures - with the exception of a clash with Wimbledon in 2002.

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The 76-year-old has a long-standing chest complaint and has limited his movement throughout lockdown.

He’s also staying away from Pompey’s Roko training base at present with the club creating a sterile area as they gear up to face Oxford on July 3.

Doing everything to ensure he stays fighting fit will be the priority for Harris going into the U’s showdown.

He said: ‘I came home from New Zealand in 1965 and the only one I’ve missed at home was Wimbledon in 2002 on the day my wife’s father passed away.

Pompey stalwart Barry Harris. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com/PinPep

‘I was doing the youth-team physio job in the 80s and 90s, so would sometimes miss half an hour of a game here and there when we played London sides.

‘Once I got back from New Zealand the rest was history when it comes to going to Fratton Park.

‘I’ve missed a handful of away games over the past 30 years and didn’t make it to Rochdale last season when I was unwell.

‘I’ve had trouble with my chest because I had pneumonia when I was a baby and picked up a shadow on my lung when I worked in the dockyard.

‘I’ve laid low through the pandemic to protect my health because I’m 76 - but I feel fine.

‘It’s not nice but there’s other people involved too and you can’t be selfish in these situations.

‘It’s disappointing but at this moment I have to be so careful.’

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