Kranjcar calls for patience

Pompey playmaker biding his time

Kranjcar: Back in action

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Niko Kranjcar is refusing to be rushed as he continues his rehabilitation from an ankle operation.

The Portsmouth playmaker picked up an injury while on international duty with Croatia back in August and has only recently returned to the first-team fold.

He made his first appearance for the South Coast club since the opening day of the season when he was handed a cameo role in the 1-1 draw with Fulham last week.

He was then involved once more as Tony Adams took charge of the club for the first time at Liverpool on Wednesday, once again stepping off the bench during the second half of the Anfield contest.

Kranjcar admits he is pleased with the way in which his ankle has stood up to his two recent outings, but believes he is still some way short of the fitness required to be handed a starting role.

Healed

"I'm nowhere near ready to start a game yet, but it was nice to get back out there again and get a feel for the pace of the game," he told The News.

"In two or three weeks' time, I think I will be ready to push for the starting XI again, but I won't rush myself.

"I have to take it a step at a time, but I'm happy that I haven't had any problems with the ankle since the operation.

"That is great news for me. It has healed the way it is supposed to heal and now it is just a question of finding my match fitness again and getting back to the kind of form I was in before.

"Ideally, you want to step it up a little bit at a time. I played five or 10 minutes against Fulham, played for nearly 30 minutes against Liverpool, maybe do 45 minutes next time and so on, but it doesn't always work like that."

Popular

Kranjcar has also been delighted by the reception he has received from the Pompey faithful since his return, with a spell on the sidelines doing little to curb his popularity.

He added: "It meant a lot to me to get such a good reception from the Pompey fans when I came on against Fulham.

"It has been a pretty difficult time for me because I love playing football and I couldn't do something I love.

"Now I will work as hard as I can in every training session and do some extra running to get myself fitter again. But it's great to be back playing again."