Pompey keeper Paul Jones receives fitness boost

Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones Picture: Joe Pepler

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PAUL JONES is set for a full return to training this week.

But Matt Tubbs is still no closer to a return to the first-team picture at Fratton Park.

He’s hopefully back in full-time training this week

Leam Richardson

And Jack Whatmough has been told to stay patient as he waits to make his comeback.

Jones is now ready to step up his return after nearly three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The 29-year-old was put through his paces by goalkeeping coach Scott Bevan in the warm-up before Saturday’s FA Cup win over Accrington Stanley.

That’s after he began working outside with Bevan in training last week.

First-team coach Ian Foster last week indicated an operation is still not out of the question for the keeper.

But he is now set to continue his rehabilitation and edge closer to a first-team return.

Assistant manager Leam Richardson said: ‘Paul’s progressing so far, so fingers crossed.

‘It’s part of his progression.

‘He’s hopefully back in full-time training this week and back in contention in the future.’

Meanwhile, Tubbs isn’t any nearer to a return to training.

Pompey have stated the striker is sidelined with an ankle injury, with his last appearance coming in the defeat to Notts County at the end of October.

That has seen him miss out on two FA Cup fixtures and four league games to date.

‘Tubbsy still a question mark,’ said Richardson.

‘He’s had orthotics fitted – things they put in your shoe to correct your gait. That will be an ongoing thing.

‘We’ve had him see a couple of specialists. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed with that.’

Defender Whatmough is still waiting to get his first minutes under his belt after nearly nine months out.

The 19-year-old suffered his cruciate knee injury against Cheltenham in March, and has faced a long and arduous period of rehabilitation.

There was talk of the Gosport talent getting minutes in a friendly against Bournemouth last week.

The Blues opted against that, however, and Richardson feels he needs to stay calm and focused on his recovery.

He said: ‘I think the manger is trying to give him a lift.

‘Jack’s a young lad who has missed a lot of football.

‘It’s tough. When he’s on a programme with the medical team he has to have a programme and that balance.

‘He’s come so far, so the thought process is to stick to that plan.

‘He just needs to be patient. He’ll get his minutes because he’s a good player.’

– JORDAN CROSS