Date: 22nd July 2010 at 8:18am
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Nope, I do not mean financially I mean to the players – with several picking up knocks and others taking, what look like, serious hits…

Pompey might have managed to get their name onto the Edmonton Cup, won by River Plate last year, but it was the price that was paid with injuries that will really concern Steve Cotterill as the already threadbare squad we have in place took some more blows.

Trialist keeper Jon Stewart looks to have broken his leg and Tom Kilbey, who I think could have a good season if he stays fit, damaged his knee – both were off in the ’13th’ minute, which was certainly unlucky for us. Another trialist Stephen Jordan was also forced off with an injury in the 2nd half.

So, despite the win it was, as Cotterill told The Pompey Site, a costly game for us with others also picking up knocks: ‘it was a costly game with a few more injuries. Jon Stewart may have a fracture, which is a blow for the kid, who is with us on trial. He’s going to be in a cast and on crutches.

‘Tom Kilbey’s struggling. He took a whack on his knee. Steve Jordan came off with a sore calf. Michael Brown tweaked his knee in the first half.

‘Matt Ritchie played on in the second half when he shouldn’t have played, but we had no more subs.’

This leaves us struggling to field a side to take on DC United at the weekend, although Cotterill ‘hopes’ to have a couple back by then: ‘we’re down to eleven now if we’re lucky. We may have Tommy Smith and Jamie Ashdown available, but we’re still struggling for a team on Saturday.’

There was a lot of travelling involved for this game, as there has been the whole tour, playing on an artificial pitch also did not help us. This travelling is bound to leave players weary and this can add to injuries being picked up, but what can you do?

He knows this is the case but paid tribute to those organising the even for how they have treated us: ‘it was a tough game on an artificial pitch. Less than 24 hours after landing here we’ve played 90 minutes. It’s not ideal. The players are fatigued.

‘The people over here have been first class. The welcome has been fantastic but there’s eight flights and four games in 14 days, flying through different time zones.’

As for the players themselves, with a patched together side – mostly youngsters with little, or no experience – Cotterill said that he could not have asked anymore from them and said that he was ‘proud’ of them for the performances given: ‘all credit to the players that we’re getting through it. They’ve been magnificent.

‘I looked at us after 60 minutes and I thought we were cooked. They were changing their line-up but we couldn’t. But we stayed in the game.

‘I can’t say enough good things about the lads. They’re young boys bonding together.’

A lot is being made of the youngsters that we have, some of the talk filtering back to the UK is not that complimentary as to what we think the futures of these players will be at the club, be the fact that they are good enough or not – what I know is if these kids will give battling displays like this then I WOULD be more than happy, and proud, to see them pull on the Pompey shirt week-in-week-out and WOULD rather this than seeing us look to offload them in favour of a more ‘experienced’, and no doubt more ‘costly’, senior player that ‘might not’ have this passion.

As for the penalties, having saved one with his first action against Havant recently, Liam O’Brien – who ‘surely’ after Stewart’s injury is battling with Jamie Ashdown to be the no.1 now – saved to earn us the win, which was also something that Cotterill was also proud of and means a lot to the club: ‘our penalties were immaculate and Liam O’Brien saved one, so we’re pleased with that.

‘We saw River Plate’s name on the cup from last year, and now we’re on it, which is nice. We’re pleased to have won it.

‘It may not mean anything to people back home, but it’s an achievement I suppose, particularly with the way we won it.’

Well done guys, lets just limp through the remainder of this tour now, get back home – take stock and wrap everyone in cotton wool for the next couple of weeks!

This tour has been costly for us but these kids ‘should’ have gained something from it, right?

Even though they are experienced, which is only gained through playing games, as said I want pride and passion displayed again this season whatever this means performance wise – if this means that they come in, let them! Lets not be too hasty to ‘discard’ these guys over ‘senior pros’ merely because they are just that, senior…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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