Portsmouth’s plan to protect thriving Australian hitman amid injury concern

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Kusini Yengi’s workload will be carefully managed in pre-season after an exciting maiden Pompey campaign.

And the Australian international will be afforded a later start to pre-season, after his summer international duties with the Socceroos.

Yengi’s star rose through an exciting maiden league campaign at Fratton Park, scoring 13 goals following his arrival from Western Sydney Wanderers.

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The 25-year-old had to adjust to a significant step up in volume of fixtures in League One, while factoring in regular travel across the globe for international involvement - featuring eight times for his country.

Yengi’s had injury issues in his career and dealt with nearly two months on the sidelines last year, after picking up an ankle injury in training.

Pompey boss John Mousinho is aware muscle injuries will need to be guarded against when fatigue is at play for the powerful operator.

He said: ‘We need to get the balance right between making sure Kas (Yengi) is fit when he comes back, but also resting because he’s the one throughout the off season who hasn’t managed to have the rest the other lads had.

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‘I think particularly for Kas, because he came in from the A-League last year and it was a big adjustment for him physically, we have to make sure we get it right.

‘You go from playing 20-odd games to 46-games plus because of all the cup games and then the Asia Cup in January.

‘It’s one where we have make sure with a powerful athlete like Kusini we look after him and he’s ready to go for the start of the season.’

Yengi has spent this month on international duty and catching the eye in the process, with three goals in two World Cup qualifiers for Australia.

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That means the Adelaide man will not report back for pre-season training with the rest of his team-mates on June 27, as he's afforded a few days’ grace after his endeavours.

Mousinho added: ‘Kas (Yengi) has had a great summer. He went away with the national team and scored three goals in two games, which was no surprise to us.

‘My biggest concern looking that first game was the pitch, but he got through it!

‘He’ll be a couple of days later coming back. He will miss the testing days and the weekend - and then he’ll back in on July 1.

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‘It’s one of those last year with the international lads that we looked like what the travel looked like - on the way back in particular.

‘Kas in particular would have to travel a lot further than some of the other lads, who were away with Wales or Northern Ireland, for example.

‘It was one we’re fully aware of and I don’t think Kas started any games off the back of an international break. I think that was sensible from us, and we have to monitor that moving forward.'

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