Appy has faith in Eastwood as he awaits Andersen go-ahead

Simon Eastwood could be called upon for the visit of Shrewsbury
Simon Eastwood could be called upon for the visit of Shrewsbury
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

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MICHAEL APPLETON believes Pompey will be in safe hands if Mikkel Andersen fails to recover from a groin injury for tomorrow’s visit of Shrewsbury.

The on-loan Reading keeper is a doubt for the League One clash with the Shrews at Fratton Park and is awaiting results of a scan to see whether he will be passed fit to play.

Appleton is anticipating positive news on that front but admits he’s got plenty of faith in standby keeper Simon Eastwood if his regular No1 is unexpectedly ruled out.

Former Halifax Town shot-stopper Eastwood has played twice for the Blues this season following his summer arrival on a free transfer.

Both games ended in defeats, with Pompey exiting the Capital One Cup at the first-round stage against Plymouth – and, more recently, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the hands of Wycombe.

Those two outings saw Eastwood concede a total of six goals.

But the Blues boss believes he’s more than capable of stepping up to the plate and handling the pressure of his league debut.

‘I thought Simon handled himself really well in the game against Wycombe, regardless of the result and the goals,’ said Appleton.

‘At the end of the day, that’s why he’s there as a No2.

‘If I didn’t feel comfortable about having to throw him in at any point, then what’s the point of him being around?

‘I would have one of the youth-team players on the bench every week if that’s how I felt.

‘So, if he has to step in, he’ll step in. He’s improving all the time.

‘John Keeley (goalkeeping coach) obviously spends more time with him than me.

‘But he thinks Simon’s come on a bundle and what I see I speak to him about.

‘He’s a good listener, takes things on board pretty quickly and I think he’s done that quite well to be fair.’

Appleton said Andersen’s injury problem had given the medical staff at the club’s Eastleigh training base cause for concern in recent days.

The Danish keeper has kept only two clean sheets so far this season – the most recent coming against Crewe last Saturday – but has been a steadying influence at the back for Pompey.

He went for a scan on his groin yesterday after missing a couple of training sessions during the week but Appleton believes he should be fit to continue.

‘Mikkel’s had a bit of a problem with his groin over the past few days which we’re a little bit worried about,’ said Appleton.

‘He’s not trained for the past couple of days, so we’ll see what he’s like tomorrow.

‘He’s had a scan on it but I don’t think it’s a bad one – it’s just a niggly one.

‘He’s had it before, we’re just a little bit concerned about it.’