Barker eyeing Butler injury return before season’s end

Dan Butler
Dan Butler

Dan Butler will be able to play for Pompey again this season, according to boss Richie Barker.

The left-back has been sidelined since December after damaging medial knee ligaments while on loan at Aldershot.

The timing was also disastrous, with the injury striking just before Barker took over from Guy Whittingham as Blues manager.

Last week the 19-year-old’s knee brace was removed as he continues his steady progress towards recovery.

And Pompey’s manager believes Butler will be available for selection once again before the campaign is out.

He said: ‘To be fair to Dan, I saw him last week for the first time without his brace on and he still has a long way to go, bearing in mind it has just come off.

‘I would say he has a good few weeks before he is anywhere near training.

‘Then, obviously, he needs to train for a while and then needs games, but he’s a fit lad so it won’t take him long.

‘I don’t think he’s out for the season, though.

‘He has to be taken in stages and a knee ligament is something where you could be nine weeks down the line, think everything is going really well and then stub your toe on a step on the way up and it knocks you back a little bit.

‘Judging by the size of the brace on the knee for a good few weeks, it was fairly serious.’

Butler made his Pompey debut last season under Michael Appleton in the Capital One Cup, before becoming a regular under Whittingham after Christmas.

He would go on to rack up 18 appearances by the campaign’s end, earning him a new two-year deal in the process.

The defender, from the Isle of Wight, started the current campaign as the preferred choice at left-back, only to be taken out of the side after two matches.

The last of Butler’s 20 appearances came at Bournemouth in the narrow 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat.

He was loaned out to Aldershot on October 31 and made five appearances, before suffering injury against Weston-super-Mare.

The youngster had impressed with the Skrill Premier side as he revelled in regular first-team football.

Barker added: ‘I have seen Dan play at Aldershot and he’s a fantastic kid, still full of enthusiasm every day when he turns up and it must be really tough for him.

‘He’s a good kid and someone we will be looking at for the future.

‘Adam Webster, Dan and Jack Whatmough – the three of them are a big part for next year.’