Whittingham expects clean bill of health despite Holmes loss

Ricky Holmes
Ricky Holmes

Guy Whittingham expects to have a Pompey clean bill of health for Saturday’s season opener.

Ricky Holmes yesterday joined Danny East and Tom Craddock on the sidelines for the visit of Rayo Vallecano.

They watched from the Fratton Park stands as Guy Whittingham’s men lost 2-0 in their final pre-season friendly.

Holmes was missing after stepping on a sprinkler during a training session at Westleigh Park.

In the process the winger had injured his foot and it was deemed necessary not to risk him against Vallecano.

East (hip flexor) and Craddock (shoulder) were already out after picking up knocks against Bournemouth.

But Whittingham is confident they all will be in his squad for the August 3 curtain raiser with the U’s at Fratton.

He said: ‘Ricky actually stood on a sprinkler while training at Westleigh Park.

‘It was more of a precaution to take him out rather than play him against Vallecano.

‘We didn’t want to risk losing him for even longer so that seemed the sensible thing to do.

‘He should be okay for Saturday, though.

‘The aim is to get everybody right for the first game of the season and I think they all will be.’

The three absentees left Whittingham with a first-team squad of 17 to pick from yesterday.

The bench was bolstered by first-year professionals Nick Awford and Liam Triggs to give seven substitutes.

Only keeper Phil Smith was not given a run out against the Spanish side.

Meanwhile, Whittingham would not be drawn on the latest over Ricardo Rocha’s possible return.

The veteran defender is still in talks over coming back to Fratton Park for the season and the Blues are hopeful of an agreement.