Holmes ready to hit the ground running

Ricky Holmes
Ricky Holmes

A move hampered and then almost scrapped over concerns about an injury which occurred four months previously.

Ricky Holmes, though, feels he has never been fitter ahead of a return to pre-season training.

The 26-year-old finally completed his protracted Fratton Park switch on Friday when he signed a two-year deal.

Relief all round, particularly for Holmes who had taken the brave step of telling The News he wanted to join Pompey ahead of a queue of other interested clubs.

The former Barnet winger is adamant he is now over the foot problem which required surgery back in February.

In an effort to bolster his fitness, he has spent the summer working hard.

And he believes he is in better shape than ever ahead of Pompey’s pre-season return on Thursday,

He said: ‘What delayed the move was I didn’t have the chance to prove I was fully fit.

‘At Barnet I didn’t get back for the end of the season following my injury.

‘The season ended earlier this year too so I ended up training at the end but couldn’t get any games in.

‘I passed the medical here fine, it was literally because I hadn’t proved myself in a game after my injury.

‘You cannot blame a club with a small squad not wanting to risk that but other than that there was no problem.

‘What changed it was they wanted to sign me anyway. I spoke to my surgeon and the screw in my foot won’t break again, everything is fine so I can start playing.

‘I am satisfied, they are satisfied, that is why the deal has been done.

‘I haven’t had the summer off, I’ve been working hard so on Thursday I am not behind the other players, I’m on a level par and can get going straight away.

‘My mate is a personal trainer and conditioning coach so I’ve been working hard with him.

‘We did straight-line running and jogging.

‘I also played two charity games, so I’ve played some football.

‘It was like a pre-season within the summer.

‘I have never worked so hard at this time of year as I’ve always had it off because I have never been injured through it.’

Holmes returned from holiday last Wednesday, helping ensure the deal could be completed last week.

Yet even on his one-week stay in Ibiza the ex-Chelmsford Town man was topping up his fitness as well as his sun tan.

He added: ‘I still did running out in Ibiza with a few of my mates because they play football as well.

‘We went out there at a late time to get a bit of sun before you come back to football because it’s a long 10 months. I have now had that last little break.

‘You don’t want to come back without doing any running at all because you’ll find it too difficult.

‘It wasn’t about proving anything, I didn’t have anyone overlooking me so I don’t think I needed to do that.

‘I did it for myself. I needed to prove to myself I can go straight into training rather than thinking about other things.

‘I did it off my own back. As a professional, I think it is something I have to do.’