Pompey dodge injury bullet

Joe Devera, left. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Devera, left. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford spoke of his relief after Joe Devera returned to action.

Devera got a solid 45 minutes under his belt on Tuesday as he turned out for the reserves in the 2-2 draw with Newport County.

The defender hasn’t made a first-team appearance since the 3-0 defeat at Plymouth in the middle of last month.

Devera has been managing a tight hamstring which has seen his availability restricted.

Awford believes treating the 27-year-old with kid gloves has stopped him enduring a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

He said: ‘Joe had a very tight hamstring, so we left him out and allowed him to rest it.

‘We think we dodged a bullet with that one, to be honest.

‘Had he done one more training session or played one more game, we think it would have gone completely and he would have been out for seven or eight weeks.

‘Hamstrings can take a while to heal if they go.

‘As it was, we only missed him for a couple of weeks.’

The reserve game marked a landmark for both Adam Webster and Danny East as they stepped up recoveries from long stints out.

Both players have been training but got competitive minutes under their belt.

East has not played any football this season as he battled a pelvic problem, while Webster has been out since the start of October with a knee injury.

Ricky Holmes came off at half-time on Tuesday as a precaution, with the wide man feeling a tight thigh.

Striker Ryan Taylor played no part in the reserve game and is still a doubt for Saturday’s clash with Accrington with an ankle problem.

There was also a double dose of good news for James Dunne and Andy Barcham.

Dunne is now running again as he make his recovery from knee surgery.

The midfielder went under the knife after injuring himself in the 3-0 win over Carlisle last month.

And Barcham was back in training this week as he made his recovery from aggravating a groin problem.

The 27-year-old has found first-team minutes hard to come by this season but Awford last week promised he still had a role in his plans.

Awford said: Andy (Barcham) had his first training session earlier this week and it was good to see him out there.

‘He got through it without any problems, so we will see how that comes along.’