Whittingham poised for double striker boost

David Connolly. Picture: Joe Pepler
David Connolly. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey are set for a double striking boost with David Connolly and Tom Craddock finally poised to hit the comeback trail.

The duo have been dogged by injury so far this season, severely restricting their availability.

Connolly has featured just twice since August, yet remains Pompey’s joint-top scorer with four goals.

Meanwhile, Craddock has played just 35 minutes in the first-team since appearing as a substitute against Morecambe on August 17.

Guy Whittingham has pencilled the pair in for a potential return to training by the end of this week, although more realistically next week.

Regardless, he believes the experienced goal-getters are nearing fitness.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘We need our best players in the team and David is one of those and Tom will be one of those.

‘I have every confidence when Tom gets up and running he will get goals for us.

‘It’s a shame from Tom’s point of view he can’t get himself right at the moment with niggling injuries.

‘But we are working hard to make sure when he does come back in everything is as it should be.

‘With David, when you get little knocks as you get older they take longer to heal and that is where he is at the moment.

‘He is working hard and believe me he takes care of himself, he knows what to do when he is injured.

‘We are hoping by the end of this week he will be back in.

‘Tom is seeing all the specialists, he’s had all the scans, there’s a bit of bone bruising in his knee, there is nothing else.

‘He has trained and trained hard and his knee swelled up so we were a bit worried it was something else but there isn’t something else. He is getting on with it now.

‘There is strengthening of the knee going on and I think by the end of this week and the start of next week Tom will be back in full training.’

Connolly has suffered a tear in his right calf and pain in his left Achilles tendon at precisely the same time.

Both occurred in the abject defeat at York.

And Whittingham admitted the medical team have had to be careful with Connolly.

He added: ‘Knowing David he will want to play for the first team straight away – I will have a problem if he is not in the side straight away!’

‘We have been a little bit careful.

‘Obviously, if David is not right physically – as in you can’t train properly – then you don’t want him running around on the coaching field so he doesn’t get better.

‘We have had to have a balance of that.

‘As a coach he has been invaluable to us. I like opinions and David is one of those that I really consider.

‘Along with myself and Alan (McLoughlin) we discuss things a lot.’