BURTON Albion defender Ian Sharps looks set to miss tonight’s trip to Portsmouth with the calf injury he suffered in the 2-1 win at Oxford United on Saturday.
The 33-year-old centre-half could be out for around a week and is a major doubt for Saturday’s home clash with Wimbledon.
Marcus Holness, who was impressive when he replaced Sharps on Saturday, is set to replace him at Fratton Park, kick-off 7.45pm.
“Sharpsy just twinged his calf,” said Brewers boss Gary Rowett. “I’m hopeful he might only miss a couple of games and be okay after that.”
Rowett has backed Holness to come in and hit the ground running.
The 25-year-old’s substitute appearance at Oxford was his first since he was sent off at Wimbledon on September 21.
Up until that point, he had arguably been Burton’s best player in the opening six weeks of the League Two season.
“It’s Bob’s opportunity now,” said the manager. “He’s had to be patient and there’s only so long you can tell players to be patient and their chance will come.
“He came in and did really well on Saturday – it’s not easy to come into a game like that at a place like Oxford and he showed what he’s all about.
“He’ll relish starting a game tonight.
“Bob’s the quickest player at the club, his agility is excellent, as all our tests show, and he’s aggressive.
“The only reason he’s not been in the team is because I’ve favoured a left-footed player in there and that’s it really.
“He’s not done anything wrong, has trained very hard and it’s a good time for him to get a chance.”
The other members of Albion’s walking wounded are expected to be fit, with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (hamstring) Damien McCrory (dead leg) and Jimmy Phillips (knock) in contention to start.
Rowett could be tempted to make changes, though, and freshen his side up – but any decisions will be left as late as possible.
“We’ve got some tired legs, which you’d expect after the game we’ve had and the way we play,” said the manager. “The issue we’ve got is it’s another long trip.
“We’ve won two with the same team so it’s a case of weighing it up and working out what we feel we need to do.”
Pompey have the highest average attendance in League Two of just short of 16,000 – more than twice the size of their nearest rival.
The atmosphere inside Fratton Park – an old fashioned and historic ground – is always fiery.
“It’ll be a very difficult game,” said Rowett. “They’ve picked up recently and aren’t conceding many goals. It’s not an easy place to go.
“It’ll be a new experience for some of the players.”