Pompey boss mulling over defender recall

Daniel Alfei. Picture: Joe Pepler
Daniel Alfei. Picture: Joe Pepler

Daniel Alfei is back in the Pompey frame to feature against Burton tonight.

But Richie Barker is wary about throwing the right-back into action too swiftly following a hamstring problem.

Alfei sustained the injury while training with the Wales under-21 side ahead of last week’s fixture against their England counterparts.

It subsequently kept him out of both that match and the Blues’ goalless draw with Cheltenham.

Barker has revealed the 22-year-old returned to training yesterday, although did not fully complete the session.

Regardless, he is being considered for the squad for tonight’s visit of Burton, as Pompey look to put a disappointing draw against the Robins behind them.

Yet the Blues boss must weigh up whether the time is quite right for Alfei’s comeback or to continue with Joe Devera in a full-back role.

‘Dan Alfei trained with us yesterday and we need to see what his reaction is going to be like today,’ said Barker.

‘He went and trained with Wales on the Sunday or Monday and his hamstring was tight so had to drop out.

‘Yesterday he took part in nearly all the session but we had to be a bit cagey with him, it’s his first session back.

‘He will definitely be reporting as part of the squad for today’s match but it’s something we are still looking at.

‘Obviously what Joe (Devera) does is bring something a little bit different, but I think everybody recognises Dan is an attacking full-back.

‘Joe has done it and is comfortable doing it but is slightly different.

‘Dan has created two of our last three goals through getting forward and putting in crosses, so it shows what he gives to us.’

Devera had initially stood in while Alfei was away on international duty, helping the Blues to successive clean sheets in the process.

Although he has performed better in a central-defensive role since his arrival in the summer, he has not let anyone down since deputising.

The temptation for Barker would be to retain the former Swindon man at right-back and give Alfei longer to recover.

With Danny East remaining sidelined with an ankle injury, that is also not an option for Pompey’s manager.

East has not played this year due to the problem, suffering several setbacks along the way.

Although not yet back in training, Barker is growing more confident the 22-year-old will be back before the season’s end.

He added: ‘Danny is the best he has been for a while, to be fair.

‘We are not going to pencil him in for any training yet but he’s certainly improved over the last week.’