Craddock’s fight to return this term

Tom Craddock, right. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tom Craddock, right. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Craddock is battling to feature again for Pompey this season.

Blues boss Richie Barker has yet to meet the injury-plagued striker since his arrival – after the former Oxford man underwent a knee operation.

Craddock has struggled for fitness since his summer arrival and has scored one goal in 11 appearances.

Barker played alongside him for Hartlepool but has yet to catch up with the striker at Pompey as he recovers from last week’s surgery.

And the manager is in the dark on the forward’s return target date.

Barker said: ‘I haven’t met Tom yet. But I don’t know if he will play again this season.

‘Once Christmas dies down, I will arrange a meeting and see how he’s getting on.

‘In terms of the length of time he’ll be out, we are governed by the medical staff on that.

‘It’s a knee operation and I think it’s a bit of all sorts. Until someone fills me in, I don’t know any more.

‘It didn’t help with Steve Allen leaving within a week but I know Tom is on some kind of special machine at home, which keeps his knee moving for eight hours a day.

‘Once he gets through that, we will have a chat.’

Although Craddock failed to impress Barker during their brief playing stint together, the Pompey boss has since seen the 27-year-old carve out a career for himself.

Barker said: ‘He made his league debut alongside me many, many years ago.

‘He only played once on loan for Hartlepool and didn’t quite cut it at the time.

‘He then went elsewhere, to Luton and had a successful time there and then to 

‘I have to be honest, Tom has probably done better than I thought he was going to do when he made his debut.’