RICHIE BARKER insists there is nothing sinister in the ongoing absence of Ricky Holmes.
The Blues winger was substituted with concussion after a clash of heads in the New Year’s Day defeat at Southend and has not featured since.
With each game he missed, there were concerns that Holmes may have suffered something more serious to extend his absence.
But the Pompey boss insists there is nothing to read into the fact that the former Barnet man has now been out of action for more than three weeks.
And he stated the 26-year-old is now progressing well in his efforts to get back into contention for his side.
Barker explained: ‘The concussion affected everything.
‘I don’t think he really knew where he was when he first did it. It looked quite bad at the time.
‘But the past few days have been his most progressive.
‘He has done some work over the past couple of days and has now progressed to heading the ball again.’
Barker explained a previous head injury had to be taken into account when assessing Holmes’ progress.
He feels it is crucial not to rush him back when dealing with head problems.
Barker added: ‘Concussion is quite a serious thing.
‘It’s something that can affect you for 24 hours or 24 days, so it can take longer than you expect.
‘Ricky is coming back to being an elite athlete – not coming back to do a labouring job or whatever.
‘Unfortunately, he has had it before so he was a little bit worried and the medical people were as well.
‘But the medical people have handled it very well.’
In his absence, Wes Fogden has started the past two games following his arrival from Bournemouth. In-demand Jed Wallace has operated on the left flank.
Barker has been pleased with what he has seen from his wide men, particularly at Morecambe on Saturday.
He said: ‘They have done well.
‘We spotted a weakness on Saturday and the wide four, if you count the full-backs, exploited it well, used plenty of width and got in a lot crosses.’