Portsmouth and Oxford are due to meet each other in the League One play-off semi-final on July 3rd.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has been discussing with the Portsmouth News the possible injury concerns surrounding his side as they look to regain their place in the top two tiers for the first time since 2012. They met Reading in a friendly this weekend without star man Ronan Curtis, or recent capture Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.
However, Jackett has moved to alleviate any fears over the player’s fitness, explaining that both absences were precautionary.
“I didn’t risk Ronan at Reading, had it been a league game he might have had a chance,” he said. “Reeco also missed yesterday and maybe out for a week, but there is plenty of time for both of them to get back for the Oxford game.”
Jackett felt that with three weeks before their vital clash with Karl Robinson’s side, there was plenty of time to ensure his key players were fit.
“In Ronan’s case, there are no major problems with them. He felt his glute slightly, so we’re not going to risk him with three weeks to go. He didn’t train with the group today but was outside. He will be training with us tomorrow.”
24-year-old Curtis has been one of the stars of Pompey’s season, bagging 13 goals in 43 matches. His last strike came in the 2-0 away win at Lincoln City, but he did hit eight in nine matches between mid-November and late December.
Hackett-Fairchild is perhaps less integral to their plans, having only moved to Fratton Park from Bromley in January. He’s appeared just once for his new club, playing 63 minutes of their Leasing.com Trophy game with Walsall on January 7th.
Missing Ronan Curtis would be a huge blow; he was only half-fit for their first leg against Sunderland last season and he missed the dour 0-0 second leg which eliminated them.
Portsmouth are a popular choice for promotion this season, with Darragh MacAnthony suggesting they voted to play on this season despite being in the top six on PPG. That’s earned them a legion of fans in Peterborough and Tranmere, who feel they voted without self-interest, whilst Oxford, Wycombe and Fleetwood voted not to play on, but happily look forward to matches in July.