James departure was the making of Ashdown

Jamie Ashdown greets David James on his return to Fratton Park in September
Jamie Ashdown greets David James on his return to Fratton Park in September
Milan Lalkovic. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey winger out until the new year

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Pompey boss Steve Cotterill has moved to distance himself from drawing the inevitable comparisons between Jamie Ashdown and David James.

The two goalkeepers will be at opposite ends of the pitch tonight as Pompey travel to James’ new club Bristol City.

James was offered a fresh deal with Pompey at the end of last season, but the offer was then withdrawn after a lengthy delay for a decision from the England man.

Cotterill then tempted the released Ashdown back to Pompey, while James signed for City.

But the Blues boss bears no malice towards James and is delighted with the progress of his own goalkeeper.

Cotterill said: ‘If we look back, there is no comparison.

‘David has been England’s number one and Jamie hasn’t.

‘There’s no comparison to make but Jamie has played very well for us this season.

‘David James is a top keeper, a top lad and has been one of the top keepers in the world.

‘Maybe Jamie hasn’t reached those heights but he has done very well for us. We’re delighted with his progress.’

Ashdown barely had a look-in while he was James’ long-term Fratton Park understudy but Cotterill believes he has unearthed a top keeper again.

He said: ‘What happened was Jamie had a few injuries and was sub for God knows how long.

‘He was bandaged up like a mummy. We unbandaged him and found there was a goalkeeper there.

‘He’s done great and we’re really pleased for him.

‘Will Jamie be as good as David James? Who knows?

‘If he ends up being a very good goalkeeper for us that’s all I’m interested in.’