Mendes hopeful of weekend return for Pompey

September 5, 2006

Portsmouth midfielder Pedro Mendes is expected to make his comeback against Wigan this weekend.

The Portuguese has now returned to full training after being given a clean bill of health by a neurologist in the wake of Ben Thatcher's horrific challenge which had knocked him unconscious at Eastlands last month.

Manager Harry Redknapp feels the 27-year-old is showing few ill effects physically from his ordeal - although the player himself admits 'it was the darkest moment of my career.'

Mendes said: 'I am feeling good and the scans show no problem. I just want to forget about the incident and start playing again. Psychologically it has scarred me. It was the darkest moment of my career.

'I am pleased Manchester City have suspended the player, but I want to put it behind me. My neck was sore last week but the pain has gone and I am happy training again.

'I hope to get fit for the Wigan game.'

Redknapp could see his attacking options boosted with the return of striker Lomana LuaLua from a long-standing ankle problem.

New signing Andy Cole, however, is likely to need more work on his match fitness before the former England striker can be in line for a debut.

Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes was another player to head to Fratton Park before the transfer deadline.

The 20-year-old signed on loan from Benfica, but is recovering from a groin problem which could be resolved in around three weeks ahead of the visit of Bolton.

Defender Glen Johnson, on loan from Chelsea, may also be back from his ankle problem in time for the Fratton Park clash on September 25.