Connolly pushing for return to Pompey line-up

Pompey striker David Connolly Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker David Connolly Picture: Joe Pepler

Top-scorer David Connolly is in the frame to return to Pompey’s starting line-up tonight.

The veteran striker picked up heavy bruising to his knee against Southend last week, restricting him to bench service at Hartlepool.

Yet Andy Awford has revealed the five-goal striker is now ready to be considered for a starting spot against Wycombe (7.45pm).

It boosts Pompey’s strike options, with Ryan Bird operating as a lone forward at Victoria Park. Tom Craddock (knee) is still out, while Patrick Agyemang is unlikely to be risked after returning to training on Monday following a thigh problem.

Elsewhere, Simon Ferry (hamstring), Yassin Moutaouakil (calf) and Thery Racon (groin) are missing.

But Connolly could make Awford’s XI against the Chairboys.

He said: ‘Dave is okay. He wasn’t fit enough to start against Hartlepool and I have got to say the shift he put the other Tuesday night (Southend) after the ruck he got was superb.

‘You should see his leg, it’s black and blue. I don’t think many would have stayed on if I am honest, fair play to him.

‘But Dave wasn’t quite right for Saturday to start so the option was there on the bench in case we needed to chuck him on if the game wasn’t going our way.

‘In the end he came on for a couple of minutes.

‘So he’s available for selection tonight, is in the squad and ready to play.’

A win for Pompey tonight could lift them into 14th spot, putting welcome distance between them and the relegation zone.

And Awford has his eye on building on that Hartlepool draw which ended five successive defeats.

He added: ‘We have only lost three in the last nine league games. Now when you look at that it can be better, of course it can, but it isn’t too bad. It will be a tough game tonight but if you can manage to get over the line you are up to 14th and people to start looking the other way again. The league is so tight.

‘Scunthorpe have won three on the spin and are in the top six. It’s a really tight league so if you can get a run going and back-to-back victories you can really get in the mix.

‘I’m not going to run before I can walk – but we have stopped the rot.’