Pompey to face Eastleigh in friendly

Adam McGurk. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam McGurk. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook has arranged a friendly with Eastleigh as he seeks to sharpen up Pompey.

The Blues will today meet the Vanarama National League high-fliers in a behind-closed-doors fixture at their Copnor Road training ground.

Fixed up before Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Oxford United, Cook is keen to give his squad more minutes on pitch.

He also wants to help his team rediscover their passing precision following some disappointing displays of late, irrespective of remaining undefeated.

As a result, Pompey will today field a strong side against Richard Hill’s men (11am kick off), who presently sit sixth in their division.

In-form Adam McGurk is set to lead the current first teamers who will be involved, although won’t be given the entire 90 minutes.

Adam Barton will also be handed more match action following his impressive 45 minutes off the bench at Oxford United.

Having missed the entire pre-season fixture list through injury, the 24-year-old has played only twice for the Blues since his summer arrival.

Eastleigh, though, represents the opportunity for another run-out in has favoured midfield role, particularly considering Michael Doyle is now suspended for a game.

Run outs are also expected for Matt Tubbs, Kal Naismith, Danny Hollands, Ben Tollitt and Jayden Stockley, with Brandon Haunstrup under consideration for an appearance at left-back.

In addition, forgotten man James Dunne will be given some form of an outing, having made just one substitute appearance this season.

From the team that started at the Kassam Stadium, Christian Burgess, Kyle Bennett and Conor Chaplin yesterday all sat out training and are unlikely to be considered for the Eastleigh game.

However, they are expected to be available for the weekend trip to Bristol Rovers as Pompey seek to stretch their unbeaten start to nine matches.

Meanwhile, Ben Close won’t be involved as he recovers from a hamstring injury, while Gary Roberts (ankle) although is edging nearer a comeback.

A dilemma for Cook will be the identity of his keeper with injuries to Paul Jones, Brian Murphy and Michael Poke.

Jones damaged his left knee in the first half of the Oxford draw, yet continued to put in an important performance.

Murphy is expected to be out for another two weeks with his groin problem, while Poke has returned on loan from Eastleigh after sustaining a shoulder injury.

Alex Bass could feature against Eastleigh, however the Blues need to recruit another keeper to cover for at least two matches.

They could well turn to Darryl Flahavan, who has been training with the Blues while without a club.

The 36-year-old was on Pompey’s books in the 2010-11 campaign, but never played.