PHOTO; James Keene on his debut back in 2005
Thursday 10 January 2013
James Keene has returned to Pompey in a one-month loan deal from Swedish side Elfsborg.
The 27-year-old striker came through the ranks at Fratton Park and made his debut in a Premier League draw with Bolton in May 2005.
He played just once more for the Blues and – following loan spells with Bournemouth, Boston and GAIS – was allowed to join Elfsborg in 2007.
But now Keene is back and looking forward to stepping out in front of the Fratton faithful once more.
He said: “It was a long time ago that I was last here and it feels great to be back – it’s nice to come home.
“The club’s position has changed a lot, but there are still a few familiar faces around the place.
“I know Awfs and Guy very well and they asked if I wanted to come and train for a few days and now it’s turned into something more.
“I left here when I was 18 so it’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to playing in England again for a massive club.
“I made my Pompey debut at Fratton Park and it’ll be nice to get back out on the pitch again.
“I’ll work hard for the team and try to help the club win some games – hopefully I’ll provide a few goals as well.
“It’s going to be big challenge – everyone understands that. No-one said it’s going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Published on Wednesday 9 January 2013
James Keene is expected to seal his Pompey return tomorrow.
And Guy Whittingham is hopeful for another loan recruit to be in place before Saturday’s visit of Notts County.
Keene trained with the Blues yesterday ahead of his anticipated switch from Swedish club Elfsborg.
The 27-year-old also spent time at Pompey’s Eastleigh base last month to convince Whittingham of his worth.
Keene previously made two appearances for Pompey in the 2004-05 campaign before signing for GAIS in Sweden.
Having come through the Fratton ranks, he had also played in the reserve team, then run by Andy Awford.
The Wells-born striker would also go on loan to Newbury, where Whittingham was boss.
Now Keene is set to complete his Fratton Park return and go straight into the Blues’ squad for Saturday.
Whittingham said: ‘We are hoping to have at least two in on loan for Saturday’s match.
‘Whether that comes off or not, we will have to wait and see.
‘James was with us training yesterday and we are hopeful that can be completed within the next 24 hours.
‘It will be great to get him on board, he’s a player who will give everything.
‘Obviously some players have departed this week but we have others on the radar to replace them. We’re working hard to bring in new faces – and James is one of them.’
PHOTO: James Keene playing for GAIS in Sweden
Report January 7, 2013
James Keene is in line for an emotional return to Pompey.
The Blues are keen to see the striker make a surprise comeback at Fratton Park.
And the 27-year-old is open to the prospect of rejoining the club where he came through the ranks.
Keene currently plays for Swedish champions Elfsborg after moving to the country in 2006.
He bagged six goals in 26 appearances while out on loan to Stockholm-based Djurgardens in their last campaign.
But now Pompey are hopeful a deal can be struck to bring him back to where he learned his trade.
Caretaker duo Guy Whittingham and Andy Awford both know Keene well from his days at the club.
Whittingham believes his desire to graft for his opportunities will ensure supporters take to him quickly.
He said: ‘James is a character the fans will take to because he will run all day and he will sniff out chances.
‘I had him at Newbury as an 18-year-old. I think he played six games and scored four or five goals. Awfs knows him from here, too.
‘He’s the type of player the fans want to see.
‘He wants to play and he wants to play for this club, if he possibly can.
‘He’s what we want. He’s spot on for this football club.’
Whittingham and Awford face a chaotic period this month – with a host of players’ contracts coming to a close next Tuesday.
On top of that there are the futures of the players on loan at the club to sort – with Scott Allan leaving after his deal came to a close after Friday’s loss to Walsall.
It’s an unprecedented situation but the management team are determined to cover all eventualities – even though it remains far from clear how the month will pan out.
Pompey are still working to their 20-man squad limit, with 18 players currently in their ranks after Allan’s departure.
There are some hurdles to jump with any move for Keene – those relate to the length of his loan.
But Whittingham is confident they can be overcome.
And the striker’s desire to return is obvious after he spent a period training with Pompey last month.
The caretaker boss said: ‘He had to go back to his parent club because his loan was up where he was.
‘His previous loan finished on December 31.
‘We hope something can be done with him but it’s one of those situations you can’t say either way.
‘Funnily enough, it’s complicated!
‘There’s some options we are trying with him.
‘It’s not the easiest thing to work out on the world but we are trying our best.
‘He was playing to the end of November and joined us a week later to keep himself fit.
‘We said it would be nice if he could come here and spoke to the club.‘There’s a certain amount of negotiation going on. We’re trying to get him.