No Wilkinson worries for Pompey

New loan striker Conor Wilkinson
New loan striker Conor Wilkinson
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PAUL COOK will not look to rush Conor Wilkinson towards a Pompey bow.

The new loan striker will miss tomorrow’s clash with Carlisle after picking up a groin injury on international duty.

Wilkinson, who has arrived from Bolton, limped off for Republic of Ireland under-21s on Monday night.

He has returned to his parent club for treatment, where he will discover the extent of the injury.

Cook explained he was an addition made with the end of season in mind, with Michael Smith unavailable for the final-day meeting with Northampton and any potential play-off games.

He said: ‘Conor was signed with a view to being here at the end of the season.

‘He’s not in a position where he needs to push to get back.

‘I probably couldn’t have got him on the bench this weekend.

‘We don’t want him injured, but I’ve got great faith in Smith, Roberts, McNulty and Chaplin.

‘Then there’s McGurk and Evans. These boys have done it all season.

‘If we could have put it all together on one page, it would’ve been a fantastic year. Unfortunately, we haven’t, but I do believe there is still a chance to do something this season.’

Meanwhile, Kieron Freeman is back with Pompey after recovering from a knee injury. He comes into contention for the Carlisle clash.

Cook added: ‘He’s back training and involved.

‘He got a kick on his knee at Accrington late on.

‘I thought with the amount of games he would’ve been brought in more regularly to give Ben Davies breaks.

‘As it’s transpired, Ben hasn’t needed it. We know Kieron is a quality footballer, though. He’s of a really good level.’