ANDY AWFORD has revealed his injury dilemmas as the season reaches its climax.
Pompey have been boosted by the return of Danny East and Simon Ferry to training this week.
But caretaker boss Awford admitted it’s a ‘big risk’ throwing the pair into a League Two survival dogfight.
East has not played for over three months, since being sidelined with an ankle injury.
And Ferry has been missing since January with a recurring back issue.
Awford knows the pair’s return represents a welcome fillip to his options.
But he will err on the side of caution when it comes to throwing them in over the final six games.
Awford said: ‘They’ve trained this week, so there’s a couple more joining in.
‘The more players there are the better it is for us all.
‘I know exactly what I’ll get from Danny East.
‘They are joining in with some things and stepping out of others. It’s good to have them back.
‘Danny and Simon have been out a while now, in fact it’s been quite a long time.
‘Bringing them back in at this stage is a big risk. They haven’t had too much training.
‘We’ll see how they go over the next few days and into next week.
‘It’s good to have them back in there.
‘Danny came back on Tuesday and Simon was on Thursday.
‘Simon actually came back last week, but you have to manage him.
‘There are some things they have to step out of. It’s blending them back in really.
‘There’s another four weeks left yet, so I would expect them to be available.
‘Whether I pick them is another thing. That’s different, but I expect them to be available for selection.
‘It’s been the same for them both. We have to be careful with them.’
Andy Barcham still remains on the sidelines for Pompey with a thigh injury.
And Ryan Bird represents another concern for Awford, with his groin injury worse than feared after returning from Cambridge last week.
That’s a blow for the 26-year-old, who had been in flying goalscoring form for the Us.
Awford explained, even with the injury, Bird’s presence has been a big positive.
He said: ‘Ryan is the frustrating one, because he’ll be out this weekend.
‘He has a groin problem, which is a shame. It needs assessing.
‘That’s a shame because he’d have given us a lift.
‘He has done that anyway and he’s a great character to have around the place.
‘He’s been a breath of fresh air since he’s been back, but it’s a little bit worse than what we thought.
‘He’s not out for the season or anything yet.
‘I didn’t bring him back for him not to play.
‘He’s got a part to play, otherwise he’d have been better off staying at Cambridge.’