Formation factor will be key with Huseklepp

Erik Huseklepp on his full Pompey debut against Cardiff
Erik Huseklepp on his full Pompey debut against Cardiff
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill could face a tactical conundrum to accommodate Erik Huseklepp.

Cotterill has been told he may have to change his formation to get the best out of the Norwegian hitman.

The Blues boss last week intimated he was still working on where is the best place to utilise some of his new faces.

Huseklepp falls firmly into that category following his £1.5m arrival from Bari last month.

The 27-year-old made a quiet full debut against Cardiff in the Blues’ last match, playing up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

But he has largely featured in an attacking right-sided role in a 4-3-3-cum-4-5-1 set-up at international level.

Former Norway star Claus Lundekvam has been spending time with Huseklepp to help the new Fratton Park arrival settle in at his new home.

Lundekvam has followed Huseklepp’s career from the outset, with both playing for Brann Bergen in their native country.

He believes Huseklepp may need to be given freedom to flourish at Pompey.

Lundekvam said: ‘In my eyes, Erik’s one of those players who is very talented.

‘But it depends on the formation Steve (Cotterill) uses.

‘I wouldn’t call him a flair player but he needs space to do his thing. He needs to do his stuff.

‘He does track back when needed, but gets a lot of freedom going forward.

‘In my eyes, he has ability.

‘He’s tricky, very direct and he’s got an eye for an goal.

‘I’ve seen most of the games he’s played for the international side.

‘He plays off the right-hand side in a five-man midfield.

‘That means he can join up as another striker.

‘He’s a fast player and unpredictable but, being a flair player and being direct, he plays high risk at times.

‘Another question mark over him could be his consistency. When he’s good he’s very good.

‘But when he’s not having his day you won’t see him very much.

‘If you ask him, he’d be prepared to play up front.

‘But, that said, Erik would like some freedom to wander around to find space.

‘There’s no doubt in my mind he has quality, though.’

Huseklepp will be on international duty tonight in Norway’s crucial Euro 2012 qualifier in Denmark.

Lundekvam explained Pompey’s new forward has impressed at international level with a return of six goals in 21 appearances.

But the former defender feels he is certain to find the Championship one of the toughest terrains possible to get used to.

Lundekvam said: ‘Erik has been outstanding for the national side.

‘He’s played most of his career in Norway and he has done really well in internationals.

‘I know the Championship, though, and I don’t think you will find a tougher league in Europe to come into.

‘When it comes to the fixtures, the match schedule and the physical side of the game, it’s very, very tough.

‘I wouldn’t say he has reached the top level yet – but the potential is there.’