Ashdown epitomises Portsmouth spirit
Steve Cotterill doesn't have too many squad players on which he can heap praise, so was happy to spread the love around after Portsmouth secured another impressive away win.
While the Pompey boss had special words for strikers Dave Kitson and David Nugent, it was, he said, goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown who summed up the spirit in his dressing room.
'We had to show a lot of character today, probably no more epitomised than by Jamie Ashdown,' said Cotterill. 'He had an emergency appendix operation nine days ago and managed to get himself out there today and I thought that epitomised the spirit and the character in the dressing room because that was a tough game for him today and he came through it with flying colours. A big game that was – that's a very big win for us.'
David Nugent set up the opener for Dave Kitson – who went on to head away a goalbound header from Elliott Ward that would have levelled it for City – and then won the penalty which Greg Halford converted deep into time added on.
'It's good for him (Kitson),' said Cotterill. 'Let's be honest about it, Kits hasn't probably been Dave Kitson for about a month now. It happens to strikers when they don't score – you need that little bit of confidence. All of a sudden when he scores everything about him is better. How does that work? Because he hadn't been scoring the rest of his game suffered.'
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Nugent was the provider, with Cotterill's decision to move him to the right for the second half instrumental in bring Pompey back into the game after a first half when they were second best.
'With their diamond we worked through the week about how we were going to do it, but there was one side of the diamond which caused us a problem and we didn't adjust to that like we had been adjusting to it for three or four days in training,' explained Cotterill. 'We changed and we felt David Nugent would be a threat out there and lucky enough that worked for us. He's a very humble boy and I am pleased for him. He is a great kid, an energiser, he brings a lot to the dressing room.'
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Cotterill's opposite number suggested Pompey had one of the best starting line-ups in the Championship – but it's below the waterline that there are problems: they named just five subs at Carrow Road.
'Everybody says that – when we win and just before we play them. The only trouble is when you put an XI out there it's what you have after that. We are getting less and less so within that XI what they mustn't do is they mustn't have a loss of form, they mustn't get injured, they mustn't have a suspension. I have never known an XI go through a season and not get any of that. That is almost a luxury for us to have five on the bench. I think once we filled our bench this season.'