Pompey Keene on bringing striker back

James Keene on debut back in 2005. Picture: Steve Reid (052192-75)
James Keene on debut back in 2005. Picture: Steve Reid (052192-75)

James Keene is in line for an emotional return to Pompey.

The Blues are keen to see the striker make a surprise comeback at Fratton Park.

And the 27-year-old is open to the prospect of rejoining the club where he came through the ranks.

Keene currently plays for Swedish champions Elfsborg after moving to the country in 2006.

He bagged six goals in 26 appearances while out on loan to Stockholm-based Djurgardens in their last campaign.

But now Pompey are hopeful a deal can be struck to bring him back to where he learned his trade.

Caretaker duo Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford both know Keene well from his days at the club.

Whittingham believes his desire to graft for his opportunities will ensure supporters take to him quickly.

He said: ‘James is a character the fans will take to because he will run all day and he will sniff out chances.

‘I had him at Newbury as an 18-year-old. I think he played six games and scored four or five goals. Awfs knows him from here, too.

‘He’s the type of player the fans want to see.

‘He wants to play and he wants to play for this club, if he possibly can.

‘He’s what we want. He’s spot on for this football club.’

Whittingham and Awford face a chaotic period this month – with a host of players’ contracts coming to a close next Tuesday.

On top of that there are the futures of the players on loan at the club to sort – with Scott Allan leaving after his deal came to a close after Friday’s loss to Walsall.

It’s an unprecedented situation but the management team are determined to cover all eventualities – even though it remains far from clear how the month will pan out.

Pompey are still working to their 20-man squad limit, with 18 players currently in their ranks after Allan’s departure.

There are some hurdles to jump with any move for Keene – those relate to the length of his loan.

But Whittingham is confident they can be overcome.

And the striker’s desire to return is obvious after he spent a period training with Pompey last month.

The caretaker boss said: ‘He had to go back to his parent club because his loan was up where he was.

‘His previous loan finished on December 31.

‘We hope something can be done with him but it’s one of those situations you can’t say either way.

‘Funnily enough, it’s complicated!

‘There’s some options we are trying with him.

‘It’s not the easiest thing to work out on the world but we are trying our best.

‘He was playing to the end of November and joined us a week later to keep himself fit.

‘We said it would be nice if he could come here and spoke to the club.

‘There’s a certain amount of negotiation going on. We’re trying to get him.’