Butler earmarked for training comeback

Dan Butler
Dan Butler

Dan Butler has been pencilled in for full training next week as he closes in on a Pompey return.

The left-back has been sidelined after damaging knee ligaments while on loan at non-league Aldershot.

It means Richie Barker has yet to work with the teenager since taking over the Pompey squad from Guy Whittingham in early December.

However, Butler is making encouraging progress, leaving his Blues boss highly impressed at his steely determination to fight his way back.

And Barker is hopeful the Isle of Wight youngster will be on the training ground with the first-team squad next week.

He said: ‘Dan is doing really well. He has passed all the physical tests he has needed to do and actually Sean (Duggan) is really pleased with him.

‘He is going to train with the youth team over the weekend to take it steady and then I expect him back training with the first-team next week.

‘He’s done really well to be fair to him.

‘From what I can gather he is a really good athlete, a very, very fit lad, and a fantastic person in terms of looking after himself.

‘I don’t think he has taken his foot off the pedal while he has been injured.

‘He has worked as hard as he can do.

‘It has been tough because he’s had his knee in a brace for seven weeks or something, but is the sort of person who will make the best of what he has got.’

Butler has made 20 appearances for the Blues after being granted his debut under Michael Appleton last season.

It was while Whittingham was in charge, however, that he became a regular in the side at left-back.

After starting the current campaign in the role, he was left out following the opening two games, although remained part of the match-day squad.

A loan to Aldershot then followed, where Butler played alongside Barker’s younger brother, Chris, in the starting line-up for the Skrill Premier side.

And the Pompey boss is relishing the chance to get the youngster back fit to assess his talents himself, as he considers his squad beyond this season.

Barker added: ‘I’m looking forward to seeing Dan joining in with us.

‘I had seen him play for Aldershot a couple of times but didn’t know a great deal about him at the time – it seems nobody here has a bad word to say about him to be fair.

‘While he has been out he has been maintaining his fitness through one-legged cycling, arm bikes and a bit of swimming.

‘Looking at him and getting to know him – as well as the feedback I’ve had from the physios and my brother – he will do everything it takes.

‘He’s got good mental strength and desire.’