Cotterill: I knew Kitson would deliver

Joe Hancott in action for Pompey Reserves against Southend. Picture: Colin Farmery

Harris hails Pompey Reserves’ performance

Steve Cotterill revelled in the goalscoring return of Dave Kitson and admitted: I always knew it would turn for him.

Kitson looked a relieved man as he ended an eight-match barren spell with the opener against Norwich in the 2-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

But while the lengthy gap between his fourth and fifth goals of the season understandably eroded the striker's confidence, Cotterill remained convinced the former Stoke man's luck would turn again.

Cotterill is now hopeful the tide has turned back in Kitson's favour, in time for a pivotal run of games for the club.

Cotterill said: 'He's had a tough spell for a month or so.

'It's good for Kitson to get that goal and you could see the difference in him almost instantly.

'He's quite an introvert character and before he scored that goal, I don't think his confidence was quite where it was a few weeks ago.

'I don't think it was anything major that was affecting him – I didn't speak to him about it.

'But he is a goalscorer and when they go a few games without scoring, they can be dented by that a little bit, even though his goal ratio is still pretty good.

'We knew he would come back because he is a quality player but he will be fine now.'

In contrast to David Nugent, who endured a torrid start to the season with a succession of missed opportunities but has blazed back to form, Kitson had been feeding on scraps in recent weeks as chances fell to his team-mates.

Kitson admitted himself recently that he has been playing too deep in an effort to contribute to the team, rather than staying forward and waiting for his team-mates to provide the opportunities.

But after netting his goal, a weight appeared to be lifted from his shoulders.

And Cotterill is now eager to see a rejuvenated Kitson in action for the visit of Scunthorpe on Saturday.

Cotterill said: 'Strikers always need that little bit of confidence but it makes a difference to every player.

'Kitson scored and then all of a sudden his touch and everything about him was better. How does that work?

'Because he hadn't been scoring lately, the rest of his game had started to suffer a little bit. So we're really pleased for him.

'It's always nice when your strikers are scoring and he has had a bit of a barren spell.

'But I'm sure he enjoyed his weekend and now we will see what sort of boost it gives him in the next few games.'

Meanwhile, Greg Halford's one-match ban has been confirmed by the FA.

The on-loan right-back collected his fourth yellow card for the club in the win at Norwich on Saturday.

But a booking for Wolves in a 1-1 draw at Everton in August means he now has five cautions for the season and will miss Saturday's home clash with Scunthorpe.

Carl Dickinson has now completed his three-match ban and is available once again.