Cotts earmarks new boy for central-defensive role

Steve Cotterill feels Jason Pearce is more suited to the centre-back role

Steve Cotterill feels Jason Pearce is more suited to the centre-back role

Carl Baker scores Pompey's winner against Mansfield Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill has earmarked Jason Pearce for a centre-half role.

The summer recruit from Bournemouth can operate at left-back as well as more familiar territory on the left-hand side of the centre of defence.

It is a versatility which could prove priceless as Blues boss Cotterill heads into pre-season well short of numbers once again.

Joel Ward’s ability to play in a variety of positions was crucial last term, while Greg Halford started in a number of roles before settling in to the heart of the backline.

But Cotterill is viewing Pearce as purely a central defender.

That was his main job at Bournemouth – and his manager wants the same at Fratton Park.

He said: ‘I think Jason is probably more a centre-back than a left-back.

‘I actually need to see him up close to find out whether he could ever do that job.

‘Predominantly, though, I think he is more a centre-back.

‘He seems to do very well when he is up against somebody.’

Pearce has been described by some as an old-fashioned defender.

Strong, brave, gutsy and tough are just some of his qualities. But Cotterill insists there is so much more to the 23-year-old’s game.

He added: ‘I’ve heard Jason called an old-fashioned centre back but what does that mean?

‘Does old-fashioned mean he can’t pass it out of the back – because he can do that.

‘He can hit a very good diagonal ball with his left foot, I have seen that.

‘He can pass it into midfield.

‘Calling him old-fashioned would probably not quite do him justice.

‘He is a tough boy, though.’

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