Simon Grayson provides fitness update ahead of Blackpool's clash against Portsmouth

Nathan Delfouneso is "touch and go" for Blackpool's game against Portsmouth on Saturday but there is better news about the fitness of Matty Virtue.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 4:10 pm
Delfouneso injured his hamstring in the draw at Gillingham
Delfouneso injured his hamstring in the draw at Gillingham

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Free week a big boost for new boy Ben Heneghan says Blackpool boss Simon Grayson

Delfouneso missed last week's stalemate at Rochdale with a hamstring injury he suffered in Pool's previous game, the 2-2 draw at Gillingham.

Virtue, meanwhile, has yet to feature this season after picking up a thigh complaint in the pre-season friendly against AFC Fylde.

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While Delfouneso remains a doubt for this weekend's game, Virtue could make his return - albeit on the bench rather than a start as it is understood he's more likely to be given a runout in next week's EFL Trophy game against Morecambe.

“Nathan Delfouneso is going to be touch and go again," Grayson said.

“Matty Virtue has been back training Friday last week, so that’s a good option for us.

“It’s probably too soon for him to start this weekend, the best he can probably hope for is to be on the bench.

“But we do have the EFL Trophy game on Tuesday night, but it’s just nice to have genuine competition for places again.”

Ben Heneghan also gives Grayson more options, the defender coming off the bench in second half stoppage time at Spotland last weekend in what was his second debut for the club.

“We put him on for the last five minutes last week as we thought he might have been able to get a goal for us from a set piece," the Pool boss added.

“But if the team wins and plays really well, it’s very difficult sometimes for me to change it.

“We suffered a couple of knocks from the weekend and one or two have only just trained.

“But given the competition for places, I know I can change the formation if I want because now we’ve got some really good competition right through the squad.”