DANNY EAST is in line for a shock return to training – nine days after being told he had a broken neck.
The Pompey defender is set to take part in today’s session at Furze Lane, despite initial X-rays showing he had fractured his neck against Wycombe last week.
And that will give new boss Richie Barker a near clean bill of health going into his first game in charge against Newport County tomorrow.
East was rushed to hospital during the 2-2 draw with the Chairboys at Fratton Park following a horror injury, which saw him land on his neck after making an aerial challenge.
After being told he had a fracture, a further CT scan revealed the damage wasn’t as bad as first feared.
The 21-year-old has been in a neck brace this week but has now had that removed.
That paved the way for East to do some running yesterday, with the former Hull man even trying a cheeky header or two.
East’s determination was seen, as he tried to continue playing against Wycombe before being stretchered off.
Now he is showing the same resolve in an effort to declare himself available for duty against the Exiles.
And that hasn’t been lost on his new manager.
Barker said: ‘Danny did his neck but he is hoping to train. He must be a tough lad.’
Pompey had a number of players feeling their way back from injury against Wycombe last week.
Simon Ferry was an unused sub after missing the two previous games with a hamstring injury.
David Connolly came on at half-time after having a bruised knee, with Patrick Agyemang also entering the fray, despite concerns over a thigh injury.
Yassin Moutaouakil (thigh), Thery Racon (groin) and Jack Whatmough (illness) were all also sidelined for that game but will be available tomorrow.
Tom Craddock’s knee concerns keep him sidelined, though.
Barker knows Pompey have to tread carefully with the problems as they move into the busy Christmas period.
He said: ‘There are a few players who have come back recently.
‘There are one or two who aren’t 100-per-cent right yet.
‘It’s a busy time over Christmas and we are going to need everybody as fully fit as they all can be.
‘They have all been fine and made it through the sessions.
‘We have to be careful, though.
‘We don’t want to risk any long-term damage.’