Appy: Kitson’s drought is down to his work ethic

Dave Kitson heads at goal against Watford
Dave Kitson heads at goal against Watford
Samantha Quayle. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Flying start for Pompey with Cardiff swept aside

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Michael Appleton is determined to see Dave Kitson back on the goalscoring trail.

The Blues striker has been overshadowed by the emergence of Marko Futacs in recent games and has often been employed in a withdrawn role behind the Hungarian.

While the former Stoke man continues to play an important role for the team, often dropping into midfield to help out, he has sacrificed his own goalscoring threat.

And that has seen him net just three times this term while he has not been on the scoresheet for eight games.

But the Pompey boss wants to see Kitson doing damage in the opposition penalty box, rather than always being the selfless team man.

Appleton said: ‘Kits is absolutely working his socks off for us at the minute.

‘We’ve got him doing that but I’d like to see him in the box more for us, if I can.

‘But the way we’re playing at the minute, he’s finding he can’t get himself into the box as much.

‘Kits’ biggest weakness is that he wants to work too hard for the team and wants to do too much, rather than just staying high up the pitch.

‘It isn’t too bad a habit, to be honest.’

Appleton has already had an effect on Futacs after a pep talk encouraged the 6ft 5in hitman to stick to his job in the final third and to try his luck on goal more frequently.

Appleton said: ‘He (Marko) was a little bit similar to Kits and had to realise that if he came into the team, he would have to play as high up the pitch as possible.

‘After his first couple of games when he came on and did quite well, I asked him how many shots he’d had in those first couple of games and he couldn’t tell me.

‘We looked at how many opportunities he’d had to shoot when he passed it and there were probably about four or five times.

‘But we’ll do a lot of hard work on the training field and give them that belief.

‘The biggest thing you’ve got to do is to put belief in the players.’