It’s a goodbye but not a Pompey farewell from Keene

James Keene battles with Crewe's Gregor Robertson during Pompey's 2-1 win on Saturday     Picture: Joe Pepler
James Keene battles with Crewe's Gregor Robertson during Pompey's 2-1 win on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

It was meant to be a Christmas break but instead turned out to be a two-month stay with Pompey.

Now Sweden cannot be put off any longer for James Keene.

The striker, though, refuses to rule out a return for a third spell to the club where he started his career.

The 27-year-old marked his Blues farewell on Saturday by helping Guy Whittingham’s side to a first win in four months and 11 days.

Appearing as a substitute at the break, Keene helped the visitors to dig in and secure a 2-1 victory at Crewe.

He will now spend a few days with his family in Somerset before linking up with Elfsborg again on Thursday.

Keene’s future with the Swedish outfit remains unclear, with two years still to run on his contract.

And Fratton Park may not have seen the last of the youngster from Wells, who made his first Pompey debut in 2005 before joining Elfsborg two years later.

Keene said: ‘I’ve finished training with Pompey and have gone home for a few days to spend a bit of time with my family.

‘I spoke to Elfsborg on Friday and they have a few injuries and a few cup games coming up.

‘They were actually happy to get me back so hopefully I will get a chance.

‘I’ve been on loan to a few clubs in recent seasons after a new manager came in and wanted to make his own stamp.

‘I had been playing for them for four or five years and he wanted to bring in his own players, so there were a few different faces around.

‘I have been there a long time. The club have looked after me very well. They have let me go out on loan if I wanted to go out on loan. They said if I wanted to stay I could stay so it was kind of up to me.

‘Coming back to England permanently is definitely an option.

‘I do like Sweden and made a life for myself out there. It has been the best part of eight years and I enjoy it out there.

‘If there’s a good opportunity to come back it will be nice to do that, but if not I am perfectly happy out there, to be honest.

‘Perhaps I’ll be back with Pompey one day. Football is a strange game.

‘It has meant a lot to me coming back. It felt great to get that first goal, especially at the Fratton end as well.

‘I’ve left now but I will definitely keep an eye on what is going on.

‘There are some great people in the changing room, some good friends I’ve made in such a short time and I want to thank them all.

‘Will I be back? You never know.’

Keene scored once in nine games during his second Pompey spell.

His only goal was in the 3-2 defeat to Colchester last month at Fratton Park, although it was one of the more memorable strikes this season.

Now he has left again for Sweden – but has paid tribute to the caretaker management duo of Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford.

Keene added: ‘The most important thing for everybody is the club stays alive and survives. Even if they go into League Two they have good people like Guy and Awfs who want to be there.

‘They want the club to do well and if they go down, can start over again so maybe that’s a good thing for the club.

‘Guy and Awfs have been brilliant to me and brilliant to the players in difficult circumstances.

‘They are there every day working hard with us.’