Portsmouth Boss Confirms Signing Will Miss Title Tussle

Portsmouth head coach John Mousinho has revealed that there are a number of players who are “50-50” ahead of tonight’s crucial clash with Derby County at Fratton Park.

Pompey are now 13 games unbeaten in League One and have a chance to all but put the title race to bed today by putting the Rams to the sword. A victory for Mousinho’s side will see them go eight points clear at the top with a game in hand on Derby in second place.

It’s been 12 long years since Portsmouth were last in the Championship, having bounced around League One and League Two in the meantime. Now on the cusp of promotion, it will feel like a rightful and long-awaited return to the second tier for supporters.

However, to avoid a catastrophic collapse, Mousinho’s men need to pick up three points against Derby County tonight in front of the home crowd. The last time these two teams met was back in September at Pride Park when Colby Bishop rescued a point for Portsmouth in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Portsmouth have a number of injury concerns heading into this clash, with several players on the cusp of returning. One name that falls into the latter category is January signing Callum Lang.

Prior to his side’s 2-1 win at Fratton Park over Burton Albion in mid-March, Mousinho stated that the former Wigan Athletic playmaker could return from his ankle problem. However, the 25-year-old has still yet to feature for Pompey.

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Now, the head coach has admitted that this evening’s fixture comes too early once more for Lang who, instead, could return to the squad against Bolton Wanderers next week. Speaking to club media prior to today’s clash, Mousinho provided an injury update on his players.

“There are a couple of players who are 50-50 after the Wycombe game, but nothing we want to name at the moment for obvious reasons,” he said.

“We’re looking more towards the Bolton fixture for Callum Lang because it’s going a bit slower than we initially hoped.

“Tom Lowery has trained over the past few days, although I think Tuesday comes too soon, while we had Tino Anjorin available on Friday, but didn’t want to risk him,” Mousinho continued.

“Injuries are part of the game and you try to minimise them, but at the same time, I want my players to sprint, go into tackles and be fully committed.”

Writer’s View

This is a huge game for Portsmouth. A win would practically see them crowned champions with five games to go, although mathematically the race for the title won’t be concluded tonight. Nevertheless, Mousinho’s men just need to pick up a point to ensure that there is still a healthy gap between them and Derby.

Furthermore, Pompey will have some players returning from injury which can only boost their already likely chances of winning the league. Getting Lang back to fitness and into the side will be crucial as well ahead of next season due to his experience playing in the Championship with Wigan.

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About Adam Scully 764 Articles
Deputy Head of Writing

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