According to the Blues’ head coach, Denver Hume is ‘not far away’ from making a long-awaited injury comeback.
Indeed, having now returned to training, the left-back has been rated as a ‘maybe’ to feature in tomorrow’s Pompey XI outing at Barnet.
In truth, that could well be too soon for Hume, who has been sidelined since March with a prolapsed disc in his back.
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Nonetheless, Cowley is encouraged about the impending availability of the sole member of his squad yet to play during pre-season.
He told The News: ‘Denver is training and we’re just waiting for the right time to play him.
‘Obviously he had a prolapsed disc in his back and it has caused some problems with the nerve. His calf wasn’t firing quite correctly, so we’re overcoming that and are making good progress.
‘He is now training with the group and is just building up.
‘Maybe he’ll play at Barnet. He’s not too far away at all, Denver’s availability is being governed by the medical guys, so we’ll wait and see.
‘Denver’s had one injury and it’s not a football injury, so I feel for him, he can be a really important player to us.
‘But this is football, these things happen. When you have a squad of 22 there are always injuries, it’s a contact sport, it’s a physical sport, it’s a highly-demanding sport, like all the elite sports, and injuries are par for the course.
‘With Denver and Connor Ogilvie fit, it gives us tactical flexibility, we always like to have one flyer and more of an inverted full-back.
‘It gives us that versatility. With 46 games played against many different opponents, that can be important.’
Hume has made nine appearances since recruited from Sunderland for around £200,000 in January.
However, he missed the final seven games of last season through injury, having previously been an unused substitute for two fixtures.
In his absence, Ogilvie stamped his authority at left-back, capping a fine personal campaign for the versatile defender.
The former Gillingham man will start this term as Cowley’s first choice, backed up by Liam Vincent, who himself has recently returned from injury.
Strength in the depth in the left-back department is also provided by Harvey Laidlaw, the Academy youngster who produced the cross for Harry Jewitt-White to level at Bognor last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Joe Morrell is expected to return after three weeks following an operation to resolve a hernia issue.
Cowley added: ‘We have given Joe a few days off because there’s not much he can do post-op other than having a bit of tender loving care.
‘He had an operation last Tuesday and can now do a bike session and gym work, so maybe he’ll be back in three weeks.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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