Keepmoat hero Kitson expects no first-team recall

Dave Kitson
Dave Kitson
Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey pair scrap it out for centre-half spot

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Dave Kitson’s name was on the lips of all Pompey fans for good reasons at last.

Not that the striker who inspired the improbable Doncaster triumph expects to be in tonight’s starting line-up.

The out-of-favour Kitson’s introduction in the 28th minute at the Keepmoat on Saturday proved to be decisive.

He won a penalty, put the cross in during the build-up which won a second spot-kick and netted a controversial equaliser.

The 32-year-old was even among the thick of things inside the box when Marko Futacs pounced to grab the winner in the 4-3 victory.

Michael Appleton himself described Kitson as the ‘catalyst’ for the victory which kept alive Pompey’s slender Championship survival hopes.

Quite a comeback then from the player omitted from six of the past eight squads by the Blues boss.

Regardless, Kitson doesn’t anticipate breaking into the side for another must-win match against Crystal Palace tonight.

He said: ‘I have been out of things lately but what else am I going to do? I am a footballer, I love playing football.

‘Myself and Michael have been perfectly honest with each other. He said when he needs me he will call on me and I said whenever that day comes I will be ready.

‘That’s the professional manner in which to deal with these sorts of things. There are no problems there.

‘We will see what happens, but I think I may have carved out a little substitutes’ role for myself there.

‘I just want to win football matches. It is what drives me on and we haven’t won enough of them this season.

‘Personally it has been a difficult season but it all happens for a reason.

‘Whether we go up or go down it will all take care of itself and we will deal with whatever is thrown at us.

‘We are the original club that deals with everything thrown at us.

‘Two administrations in two years is a bitter pill to swallow, but here we are, still fighting.

‘It can be done, it is going to be hard. It is not beyond possibility we could pull it off.’

Kitson has struggled to win over the Pompey fans since arriving in August 2010 from Stoke.

He has subsequently scored 12 goals in 70 games, while nowadays he insists he should no longer be considered a goalscorer.

The ex-Reading man attracted some boos from a section of home fans during his last Fratton Park appearance against Middlesbrough in March.

That was nothing to the red-hot reception he received from a hostile Keepmoat Stadium home crowd who were ferocious in their criticism of him.

For Kitson, though, such hostility ends up only raising his game.

He added: ‘They love me everywhere!

‘It’s a funny thing. I think I’ve just got that face, to be honest.

‘They never learn, it is unbelievable – they boo me and I score, we win 1-0. They boo me, I score and we win 2-0. They boo me I score and we win 4-3. They never learn and I have seen it millions and millions of times throughout my career.

‘I have seen Ronaldo get unbelievable stick and score two goals and we are dead on the ground and you think “what are you lot doing?”.

‘It inspires me, I love it, I absolutely love it.

‘But what I will say is, when I walk off the pitch and cup my ears, if you are going to dish it out you have got to be prepared to take it back. There you go.

‘They were calling me a cheat all game – but Habib Beye tried to take both my legs off as I race ahead of him!

‘Fans are good banter and everything is fair game.

‘On Saturday, it was right on the border line but I have a lot of days where it doesn’t go my way – put it that way – and take an unbelievable amount of stick, so when it does I enjoy it.’