‘Statto’ Chorley counts down to return

Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler

BEN CHORLEY has been ticking off the games.

And now he’s hoping the waiting is nearly over, as he closes in on a return from a period of frustrating injury.

Chorley has been making a steady recovery from a calf problem, and is hoping for a return to training this week or at the start of next.

Tuesday’s reserve game at Cheltenham arrived too soon for him and the same is likely for this Saturday’s trip to York, with the defender missing six games to date.

The latest problem followed a dead leg and, last season, an Achilles injury in a niggly spell for the Pompey skipper.

Chorley admits to being a bit of a ‘statto’ when it comes to analysing the fixture list.

And he’s been paying close attention to the matches on the horizon as he sat on the sidelines.

After crossing off the games he hasn’t been involved in, the former Arsenal trainee is looking to put down the statistics and get back to the business of helping Pompey up the table.

Chorley said: ‘Of course I look down the fixture list.

‘I’m an experienced professional now, but I’m also a little bit of a statto. I keep reading all the time.

‘I can reel off all the fixtures until Christmas, if you want me to.

‘We have the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy to get in there as well still.

‘I know most of the strikers around in these leagues now, so you prepare for them.

‘We had Hartlepool at the weekend and Wycombe before that.

‘Then we have a free week up until York then the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

‘I can’t wait to get back into training, get some work in and get back and ready. to play.’

Chorley is in rich company when it comes to Pompey players with a passion for facts and figures.

Paul Merson famously tracked his side’s charge to the Premier League in 2003 with a string of wall charts in his kitchen.

But there is still an undisputed king down at PO4 when it comes to Pompey’s number one statto.

Chorley admits even his statistical appreciation pales when comparing to the knowledge possessed by Blues stalwart and Pompey historian Barry Harris.

He said: ‘Barry Harris is the best I’ve ever seen.

‘The other day he was telling me it was Oxford at home and we won 2-0 in 1971. I couldn’t believe it!’

As Chorley pores over the fixtures there is one clash on the horizon which has failed to escape his attention.

The visit of Stevenage on October 21 is looming large for the central defender.

Chorley spent 12 months at Broadhall Way before moving to Fratton Park.

A contract wrangle soured his time at the club before moving to the Blues.

Chorley is looking forward to locking horns with old side again, but is aware there is other business to attend to first.

He said: ‘As I say, I look at all the fixtures.

‘That’s one I’ll look forward to, but there’s a few games before Stevenage.’