Fit-again Painter sets sights on Fleetwood

Marcos Painter. Picture: Joe Pepler
Marcos Painter. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Marcos Painter targeted high-flying Fleetwood and insisted: I’m ready to return.

The left-back is itching to get back into the Pompey frame after recovering from a hamstring strain.

He was held back an extra week from first-team action despite returning to training nine days ago.

In his absence, Danny East continued to impress in the left-back role during the 2-1 victory at Burton.

Now Painter is raring to go and eager to push for a spot in Guy Whittingham’s side once more.

The former Birmingham full-back’s only full appearance saw Pompey claim their sole league clean sheet of the season so far in the 3-0 win over Morecambe.

He is desperate to return to the team on Saturday when Pompey welcome Fleetwood to Fratton Park.

Painter said: ‘I have been missing for a few games but that’s the thing with football, you get injuries.

‘Hopefully it is something which won’t come back and I can just concentrate on playing football.

‘I’ve been back training since the start of last week.

‘But the club, the gaffer and myself took the decision to take more time than was needed just to make sure there were no recurrences.

‘We all talked it over in the gaffer’s office.

‘It was being safe rather than sorry and giving me that bit of extra time instead of having to come off the bench and be thrown in at the deep end so to speak.

‘I am better for it, having that bit of extra time to rest, and it should be okay from now on.

‘To be honest, I should have come off straight away in that Mansfield first half when I felt a twinge running for the ball and not waited until the second half.

‘With hamstring injuries you can’t play on with them.

‘I want to do a job for the team, though, and I wanted to get the right result so didn’t want to be coming off too soon.

‘I’m back training now and this will be my second week so I should be fine for Fleetwood.’

Regardless of Painter’s availability, left-back rival East has caught the eye with some rugged displays.

The former Hull youngster suffered a cut above his eye against Burton but battled on as the Blues won 2-1.

Painter has been impressed by his team-mate’s contribution.

He added: ‘Eastie has done well since he came in and that’s the squad we’ve got – it’s not just a good starting XI, it’s a good team all around.

‘That is up for the manager to decide. I signed when these players were here before, so who knows?

‘I am here, the gaffer knows what I offer to the team and he will decide what happens.

‘Everything has gone to plan with my recovery and hopefully it continues like that.

‘I’ll keep working hard and see where it takes me.’