‘Lazarus’ has risen again, now Craddock wants to make Pompey impact

Tom Craddock with pupils from Medina Primary School. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132551-200)
Tom Craddock with pupils from Medina Primary School. Picture: Allan Hutchings (132551-200)

His team-mates call him Lazarus, now Tom Craddock is aiming to make the most of footballing life after staging his latest injury recovery.

The striker has endured a frustrating start to life at Fratton Park following his summer switch from Oxford.

A groin problem picked up in the warm-up on the pitch at Accrington was bad enough – yet just one game into his comeback it was feared he had damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in training.

Instead, it was assessed as bone bruising and what appeared to be a lengthy lay-off saw Craddock defy the doctors and return to training within a week.

A remarkable rise from his sick bed for the 26-year-old, who has made just one start this season and watched rivals Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly bang in the goals, with Ryan Bird a regular replacement.

He made his latest comeback as a late substitute in the victory at Burton last weekend.

Craddock will again be in the frame for tomorrow’s visit of Fleetwood – a Blues squad which will also feature David Connolly following his three-match ban.

And the former Middlesbrough man wants to finally be allowed to make an impact at Fratton.

He said: ‘I had my groin injury and came back, then fell awkwardly in training.

‘We thought it was quite serious but, thankfully, it has settled down quite quickly, so I trained Thursday and Friday last week and obviously came on against Burton.

‘Hopefully I can start getting miles into my legs and start making in-roads into the first team, putting pressure on the guys who are playing and making some appearances.

‘The lads have actually been calling me Lazarus but, as I say, I fell awkwardly the last time.

‘My knee swelled up straight away and the specialist thought with the mechanics it was quite serious.

‘It was pretty grim but we got a scan that didn’t show any damage and it settled down pretty quickly so we were all pleased.

‘I have not had much luck but this is part and parcel, the lads have got some pretty decent results and we have picked up a bit of late, so when I’ve been missing it has not been too bad because we have been picking up points.

‘It’s tough, though. You come to a new club and want to impress everyone, not just the fans but your team-mates.

‘The coaching staff know about you because they signed you but you want to make an impression. It has been frustrating but you just have to get on with it.

‘Hopefully I have got all my niggles out of the way early doors and there is no more to come. Fingers crossed.’

Craddock’s sole start came in the Capital One Cup defeat at Bournemouth, while he has made five substitute appearances in the league.