Hardyman: Don’t rule Craddock out

Tom Craddock scores against Cambridge. Picture: Colin Farmery
Tom Craddock scores against Cambridge. Picture: Colin Farmery
  • Craddock one of 11 players out of contract at season’s end
  • Striker has netted once in 11 games during injury-raged two seasons

Tom Craddock still has the opportunity to win a new Blues deal.

That is the belief of Paul Hardyman, following the striker’s latest return to Pompey match action.

The new manager might come in and it may be someone who has worked with Tom before and says “I want to keep Tom Craddock because I know what he is about”

Paul Hardyman

The 28-year-old netted on his reserve comeback against Cambridge United on Tuesday – and also missed a penalty.

It was a first appearance for Craddock since turning out in a 1-1 reserve draw against Bournemouth in early February.

Since then the striker has reined himself in as he recovers from a career-threatening knee injury.

His return has now been kick-started once again, culminating with 59 minutes at the Abbey Stadium.

Craddock is one of 11 players out of contract this summer, a situation which won’t be resolved until a new manager is appointed.

But first-team coach Hardyman doesn’t think the player, who has made only 11 appearances in two seasons, is certain to be leaving the club.

He said: ‘For somebody to be out as long as Tom has, it is vitally important you get back out on the pitch and start playing again. I am pleased for him.

‘He’s been out for so long and now he’s got to see if Portsmouth give him a contract or if his future lies elsewhere.

‘That is the difficulty of it because until a new manager comes in he is waiting and seeing.

‘The new manager might come in and it may be someone who has worked with Tom before and says “I want to keep Tom Craddock because I know what he is about”. Another manager may turn around and say “He’s not for me”.

‘That is no different for Tom but all the players.

‘All me and Gary (Waddock) can do is advise on what we have seen this season.

‘Tom played for 59 minutes and would be in contention for being on the bench on Saturday now because he has proven his fitness – if Gary and myself thought it was the right decision.’

Meanwhile, the Pompey Legends are back in action this weekend to raise money for charity.

Tony Male’s side are dusting off their boots to turn out at Moneyfields on Sunday (1pm kick off) in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Blues side is set to include Alan Knight, Keith Viney, Shaun Gale, Guy Butters, Joe Laidlaw, Lee Bradbury, Dave Waterman, Michael Birmingham, 
Chris Burns and Linvoy Primus.