Cotterill hails return of keeper

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Howe: Pompey gave Cherries tough test

Steve Cotterill insists getting Jamie Ashdown back at Pompey was one of the best decisions he's ever made.

The Blues goalkeeper kept a courageous clean sheet in last weekend's 2-0 win at Norwich City – just nine days after an emergency operation to remove an appendix.

Ashdown has also been one of the club's best performers with a string of fine displays.

Considering he had been released by Pompey at the end of last season, it's an amazing turnaround in fortunes.

His recovery underlines his desire to hang on to the role of the club's number-one goalkeeper after so long in the shadow of David James.

And Cotterill feels getting Ashdown back with the Blues in pre-season was one of his finest moves in management.

The Pompey boss said: 'Look how Jamie Ashdown has come on from the start of the season.

'He was probably very rusty and maybe not confident enough that he could play 20 games on the bounce with the cup games as well. Look what he's done and look what he's achieved.

'For me, it was one of the best decisions to take him to America with us in pre-season.

'It was great for him that he wanted to come and in that period of time, I got to find out everything about him and what his character was going to be like.

'I'm really, really pleased for him.'

Ashdown was expected to be named in the starting line-up for today's home clash with Scunthorpe, but Cotterill admitted he was still unsure if the goalkeeper had fully recovered from his date with the surgeon's knife.

Cotterill said: 'I don't know if he's fully recovered.

'We left here at training one minute and the next he was in emergency surgery.

'The appendix didn't quite burst, but he was scanned and it was swelling up and with another 24 hours, he could have been in major trouble.

'It was a blessing that it didn't happen when we were on the coach. It's a serious thing to happen.

'But it was unbelievable, really. Five days after surgery he was out on the training pitch catching balls. He wasn't diving around but balls were being driven at him into his stomach and I was wincing a little bit.

'It was probably down to me pushing him but I needed to know early in the week if he was going to fail it (fitness test).

'It would normally take three weeks to be back playing after surgery – the doctor said three weeks, so what does he know?

'He's been training this week.'

Cotterill added: 'I think he was a bit sore but it was a big deal what he went through to get on that pitch.

'We joked with him when he was slumped in the dressing room with ice all around his stomach and ribs and he said "I even got a clean sheet".

'

It's funny how these things happen. He's a great kid.'