Untimely injury blow for Haji Mnoga - but James Bolton handed Portsmouth all-clear for Sunderland

Haji Mnoga has added to Pompey’s right-back problems after collecting injury.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 5:00 pm

However, James Bolton is poised to seal his first-team return by lining up against Sunderland on Tuesday night.

According to Kenny Jackett Mnoga reported a tight groin in training on Friday morning.

With Bolton not ready to start following an ankle ligament injury, that meant Jack Whatmough was the sole option to serve at right-back at Northampton.

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What unfolded was an abject first half from Pompey, finding themselves 4-0 down after 43 minutes.

Bolton, though, did appear for the final 31 minutes in the 4-1 loss, replacing Rasmus Nicolaisen.

And Jackett believes he’s now ready to be named in the starting XI against Sunderland.

He told The News: ‘Haji had a groin injury sustained on Friday in training, so unfortunately he was unavailable (at Northampton).

James Bolton returned to Pompey's squad to be named on the bench at Northampton - now he's ready to start. Picture: Dennis Goodwin/ProSportsImages

‘Hopefully James can now build on his appearance. He has pushed himself through in the previous 24 hours to get himself right.

‘We checked again in the morning and he felt he was good to come on at some stage if we needed it.

‘Sometimes until you actually do play, you never quite know. That bit at the end of the game will help him and give him confidence in terms of him being sure that his ankle was all right.

‘He was also fine at the end of the game – and is in contention for Tuesday.’

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Since Callum Johnson collected a calf injury during last month’s 1-0 victory at Oxford United, the Blues have struggled at right-back.

With Bolton already on the sidelines at that point, Jackett has employed both Whatmough and Mnoga in the position, yet team results have been poor.

In Johnson’s absence, the Blues have picked up one point from three matches, the latest fixture Saturday’s trip to Sixfields.

Jackett added: ‘Callum is still out for another one or two weeks.

‘We’ve had a few injuries at right-back recently and you do have these spells in football. It’s unfortunate but it happens.

‘Haji had a very, very tight groin on Friday. He didn’t feel he could strike a ball properly, it was then too close to really push him through to the game.’

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