Portsmouth midfielder Ben Close eases injury concerns after hobbling off in Checkatrade Trophy final against Sunderland
Midfielder Ben Close has eased injury fears after he was forced off during the Checkatrade Trophy final.
The 22-year-old Pompey Academy graduate was substituted in extra-time against the Black Cats at Wembley.
Close was replaced by defender Anton Walkes on 113 minutes, who played as a defensive midfielder in the closing stages of a match the Blues eventually won on penalties.
Yet the former Priory School pupil has allayed fears he could now miss games in the crucial run-in until the end of the season.
The midfielder revealed he was suffering from cramp and should be in contention as Pompey return to League One action at Wycombe on Saturday.
Close said: ‘It was just cramp.
‘I had cramp everywhere and I literally couldn’t move by the end.
‘It was the occasion.
‘The way the game went, there was a lot of running, I wasn’t surprised to get it.’
Pompey lifting silverware at Wembley proved to be a special day for Close.
The 22-year-old watched from the stands when the Blues won the FA Cup back in 2008.
But the feeling of playing a part in a Pompey win at the national stadium filled Close with more pride.
He added: ‘It’s better than when I was here as a fan in 2008.
‘To be involved in a final at Wembley is a dream in itself.
‘But once you’re here it’s only a good day if you win.
It means everything to me.
‘It’s something that you dream of but it never really felt close to happening.
‘For it to happen this year is outstanding.
‘It didn’t feel like a Checkatrade Trophy final, it felt much more than that.
‘To play in front of 85,000 fans, walking out at the start of the game with the noise levels.
‘Seeing the split of the blue and red, it was everything dreams are made of.’