Awford mulls over returning duo’s involvement

Ricky Holmes, left, is back in contetnion for the trip to Exeter Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes, left, is back in contetnion for the trip to Exeter Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford is weighing up whether to risk throwing in both Ricky Holmes and Ryan Taylor against Exeter.

The duo both returned to Pompey training yesterday following injury.

Holmes had been out for 17 days with a thigh injury, missing three friendlies.

As for Taylor, he was sidelined for 13 days and two matches having picked up a groin problem in the defeat at Ebbsfleet.

Both are now in the frame for the Blues as they embark on a period of five games in 15 days.

But Awford is mulling over the extent of their participation at St James Park considering their recent lack of action.

‘Ricky is fine. We will assess him this morning because after a day’s training you always have to look at them the next day to make sure there is no reaction,’ said Awford.

‘Tayls also trained yesterday morning and it is the same scenario with him.

‘To have them back out there was a good boost because they did ever so well for me at the end of last season and were key players.

‘They are now in consideration for Exeter but you have to look at the lack of minutes they’ve had during pre-season, the lack of training minutes as well. That will come into my decision making.

‘I wouldn’t want them to go out there tomorrow and pick up another injury because they are not quite match fit, so we have to consider that as well.

‘There are other games after Exeter, although we will be going all-out to beat them and not holding anything back.

‘Taylor picked up his groin injury against Ebbsfleet, while Holmes’ last action was Thurrock, so they haven’t had a lot of training and you have to be careful.

‘It’s about whether it is better for them to come off the bench or they start and we get an hour out of them.

‘I know what they’ll say about it – but I have to protect them and make sure they are ready for the whole season.’

Patrick Agyemang (hamstring) is out, although Ben Close returned to training yesterday following a knock.

Danny East (groin), Tom Craddock (knee), Wes Fogden (knee) and Bradley Tarbuck (knee) are all still missing.