Pompey look set to be without five key men for tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash at Newport.
Thery Racon and Simon Ferry are both definitely ruled out again, while Patrick Agyemang is a major doubt after picking up a thigh problem in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Stevenage.
With Jed Wallace serving a one-match ban for picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, and Gavin Mahon banned for three games after his red card, it leaves Guy Whittingham’s resources suddenly looking very threadbare.
While Agyemang may yet be risked, it’s a tricky dilemma for Whittingham – especially with Tom Craddock and David Connolly only just returning from injury.
Whittingham said: ‘We will have to monitor that one.
‘Pat came off with a thigh strain. It’s not too bad but whether it will have cleared up in time for the game, we will see.
‘At the moment, we’re not ruling him out.
‘Pat has been almost ever-present and is someone you want on your teamsheet.
‘With Tom Craddock and David Connolly coming back, you don’t want to give them too much football to risk a recurrence.
‘It’s a bit of a thought process on how much time you give them, so that’s why we are monitoring Pat closely.’
Midfielder Racon is out with a hip injury, while Ferry (hamstring) has been pencilled in to return to training later this week to give him time to recover.
Whittingham said: ‘Thery has just pulled his hip flexor a bit.
‘He came out for training yesterday and it wasn’t quite right so there is no point in making it worse.
‘We want to give it a chance of being better by Saturday and Simon Ferry will be back in training on Thursday.’
Wallace is out after totting up five bookings.
Ricky Holmes in pole position to replace him but the Blues boss believes it is harsh that the young midfielder serves a suspension.
He said: ‘We’ve looked at all of Jed’s bookings and one or two were dubious.
‘He is suspended, which is disappointing, because he has been one of our better players.
‘But it gives someone else a chance to see how they get on.’
- STEVE WILSON