Triple summer boost for Portsmouth boss as he targets promotion challenge next season

Danny Cowley has been handed a triple pre-season player boost.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 1:00 pm

The Blues’ preparation for the 2022-23 campaign kicks off on Monday, June 20, with his squad scheduled to return.

And Cowley has revealed long-term injury absentees Jayden Reid, Kieron Freeman and Reeco Hackett will all be available to participate.

Reid has been sidelined since July 2021 after rupturing cruciate ligaments in his left knee seven minutes into a substitute appearance at Luton.

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Freeman sustained ankle ligament damage at Oxford United in February through a fall after the ball had knocked him unconscious.

As for Hackett, he damaged lateral knee ligaments during the 3-3 draw with Fleetwood at the end of February.

But Cowley expects all three to report for duty on June 20 – injury-free and fully recovered.

The Blues’ head coach told The News: ‘Reeco is making good progress, Kieron is back out running and there has been some gradual change of direction work.

Kieron Freeman has been sidelined since February with ankle ligament damage. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘And Jayden is nearly there, he is ready to go, but, with cruciate ligament injuries, the risk of re-rupture diminishes dramatically as time goes.

‘We are nearly to the nine-month period in May and you are pretty good to go, but at 12 months the risk is even less. So we’re holding back because the reward of a small amount of games is not worth it when you consider the risk element.

‘They will all be definitely back for pre-season, which starts on Monday, June 20.

‘You want pre-season with everybody fit and available. Last year, Ellis (Harrison) was still coming back to fitness and Michael Jacobs was about a month away.

‘It hurts the players if they don’t have a pre-season, they are always chasing their fitness, that period of work is so vital for them physically.’

The deals of Hackett and Reid both expire at the season’s end, with Pompey having options to extend each by 12 months.

Although Freeman is contracted until the summer of 2023.

Certainly in the case of Reid, Cowley has reiterated his intent to look after the former Birmingham youngster contractually.

He added: ‘There is an obligation for me, certainly in my mind, with Jayden because he has been so unfortunate.

‘He was delighted he had been given a contract, then ruptured knee ligaments against Luton days later.

‘These young players were free agents, the journey is a long one, it’s a long road, and it takes a lot of work.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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