Harris hands Pompey surprise boost

Ashley Harris has made a rapid recovery from an ankle injury
Ashley Harris has made a rapid recovery from an ankle injury

Ashley Harris has made a rapid recovery from injury to put himself in the frame for a shock Fratton Park appearance tonight.

The teenager was expected to be out for up to 10 days after turning his ankle on Thursday.

However, he surprised even Michael Appleton to return to training yesterday, taking part in the full duration of the session.

Similarly, Lee Williamson was also back with the squad after a groin problem kept him out of Saturday’s FA Cup exit to Notts County.

Now both players have been given the green light to feature against Brentford tonight.

Appleton said: ‘Ash had a bit of stick yesterday from the lads, as you can imagine.

‘He could hardly walk on Saturday and then all of a sudden it’s a miracle and he’s running around.

‘Maybe if he has not done it before he has panicked.

‘He might not have had that feeling before and doesn’t know what it’s like to go over on your ankle.

‘I was as surprised as anyone when Steve (Allen) came in and said “Ash is available to train today”.

‘He did get a bit of stick, mind.

‘Ash did the full session, as well as Lee (Williamson).

‘It means both are available tonight.’

Mikkel Andersen and Carl Dickinson also return after being absent at the weekend. Their parent clubs denied permission for them to feature against the Magpies in the interests of them not becoming cup-tied.

However, Scott Allan will sit out the first match of a three-game ban after his red card on Saturday.

Darel Russell could make the bench once more after being sidelined since September with a hamstring pull.

But Appleton does not yet believe the midfielder is ready to feature.

He added: ‘If you ask Darel himself, he is not 100-per-cent confident about really bursting and going with his hamstring.

‘It’s a confidence thing with hamstrings because they are so delicate.

‘Possibly, he could play on Saturday (against Bury) depending on how the game goes and how people do.

‘But I’m sure with Darel he will be thinking more towards a week on Saturday (against Doncaster).’