Poke enjoying home comforts now after Pompey injury recovery

Pompey keeper Michael Poke
Pompey keeper Michael Poke

Michael Poke is back on the football field – much to the relief of his wife.

A twisted ankle sustained in pre-season, followed by an Achilles problem, signalled a nightmare start to the 28-year-old’s Pompey career.

Recruited from Torquay in the summer, the keeper was earmarked for a head-to-head with fellow new recruit Paul Jones for a place between the sticks.

Instead, Jones was left unchallenged to claim the spot and is currently Andy Awford’s undisputed number one.

Now Poke is back, with tomorrow’s trip to Southend representing his third successive match-day squad involvement.

He also completed his first 90 minutes of the season at any level in the reserves’ 3-2 success at Peterborough in the week.

Regardless, the keeper will inevitably be on the bench at Roots Hall as Jones maintains his ever-present record for the Blues.

But, much to relief of the Poke household, he is challenging once more.

‘I have been unlucky with the injuries so it’s good to get back out there and into the swing of things,’ said Poke.

‘I think it was all linked up with the original injury (twisted ankle) and has been very frustrating. When you come to a new club that’s not what you want.

‘I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it has been, ask my missus!

‘I have been quite moody at home but I’m glad I’m back out there training again and getting back in the swing of things.

‘You have to hold your hands up and say it is what it is, there is no point dwelling on it, just get on with it.

‘All you can do is keep plugging away. I’ve put that behind me now and I’ll get on with it.

‘Jonesie has been doing well, to be fair to him. I just have to be patient now.

‘That’s the way it is – be patient, train hard and just wait for my chance.’

Such was the extent of Poke’s recent Achilles injury, Awford had to move to sign free-agent Peter Brezovan on a short-term deal.

Academy stopper Alex Bass also stepped in on occasions to act as Jones’ cover during Poke’s six-match absence.

Yet the fit-again former Southampton trainee returned to the Blues squad against Yeovil in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and has remained there since.

Then, on Tuesday, he turned out for Alan McLoughlin’s reserve side against the Posh at the Nene Park Academy, helping them to a 3-2 success.

Poke could not be faulted for the two late goals he conceded and was pleased with how his maiden 90 minutes turned out.

He added: ‘I felt good against Peterborough.

‘When you come back from injuries there are always things like judging your distances, there are balls over the top for a goalkeeper, crosses in the box and also a couple of corners.

‘Things like that and other stuff you can pick out of it, which is beneficial.

‘For me, that is massively important. The shots aspect of it you can replicate in training, to be fair.

‘It’s more in a game decision-making, through-balls, so you get good stuff out of it.

‘I think we should have been seven up on Tuesday, but that is just the way it is.’