Boss tasks Ashdown to improve

Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown
Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Steve Cotterill has praised his ever-present goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown but told him: I want even more out of you next season.

The Blues boss re-signed the 30-year-old in one of his first acts of recruitment after taking charge at Fratton Park last summer.

Ashdown was initially among the huge list of players released by Pompey last term after their relegation from the Premier League.

But, with David James linking up with Bristol City, Cotterill tempted Ashdown back to join the club’s pre-season trip to North America and saw enough to make him his number-one for the 2010-11 campaign.

Ashdown played every minute of the club’s 50 games – a fine achievement considering he also had his appendix removed in December – but signed off an otherwise fine campaign with a less than convincing display in the final game of the season at Scunthorpe.

And while Cotterill was delighted with his keeper’s efforts, he has tasked him with minimising the more erratic displays.

Cotterill said: ‘I congratulated him on his 46 league games he’s played because that is an achievement in itself.

‘I wanted him to be the ever-present in the side this season after hardly playing for this club over the past few years.

‘But he’s had a few games like that one at Scunthorpe this season. I suppose he is entitled to a few but when it happens, it is always noticeable when it’s your keeper.

‘So I’ve told him in the 46 that are available next season, he’s got to make sure he doesn’t have as many of those kinds of games as he has had this season.

‘Say he’s had five like that this season, he’s got to make sure it’s only three next season.

‘But, overall this season, Jamie has been excellent. Every goalkeeper makes the odd mistake but I can’t think of too many that he’s made.

‘I would say he has been right up there with our best players.’

The former Reading man seemed to be the only constant in an ever-changing defence that struggled to keep clean sheets earlier in the season.

But Pompey clicked at the back in February and March as Ashdown claimed the club’s post-war league record for time without conceding a goal, chalking up 636 minutes’ worth of clean sheets.

But Cotterill knows he needs to bring in some competition to keep Ashdown on his toes next season after the release of understudy Darryl Flahavan.

And while he has targets in mind, he has yet to be given the green light for any kind of recruitment.

Cotterill said: ‘For sure, Jamie needs competition and I’ve got one or two ideas.’