Defenders make playing returns

Danny East will make a return to action today after his long injury struggle.

The versatile former Hull City man has not played a game all season because of a pelvic injury.

But he will play some part in the reserve clash with Newport County on the club’s new training pitches at Roko (2pm).

And there is a second defensive boost for the Blues, with Adam Webster also pencilled in for 45 minutes.

Pompey boss Andy Awford said: ‘Danny East will certainly get some minutes. He won’t start the game but he will definitely play a part, as will Adam Webster.

‘That’s positive news to have those two back.

‘Danny has been in and out of training for the past two or three weeks.

‘That wasn’t down to any setbacks, it was down to us managing the injury properly.

‘He’s now at the stage in his comeback where he can have a bit of game time.

‘We’ve got to push him on at some point.

‘He can keep training but we will never know, unless we put him into a match-day environment.

‘Training is one thing but, as we all know, you can’t ever replicate a match.

‘If he comes through that okay, we will look to get him his next bit of action next week against Leyton Orient.

‘If it all goes to plan, we might be looking to give him a half next time.’

Awford has warned that it’s only a first step back on the road to a first-team return for East, who has been plagued by injury since his arrival at Fratton Park.

But there is further positive news on the injury front, with Joe Devera also making a return after his hamstring problem.

Awford said: ‘Danny will not be ready for first-team selection immediately. He’s been out for a long period so we need to be careful with him.

‘But it’s a positive step.

‘Webster’s injury was a bit more straightforward.

‘He is probably ahead of schedule but we will be looking to give him a half.

‘We will be looking to give Joe a half as well.’

Alex Wynter, Johnny Ertl, Ricky Holmes, Nick Awford, Ben Close and Conor Chaplin are also set to feature.

– STEVE WILSON