Midfielder’s new lease of life pays off for Pompey

Dave Kitson, right, and Joel Ward, left, celebrate David Norris' goal at Turf Moor. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Dave Kitson, right, and Joel Ward, left, celebrate David Norris' goal at Turf Moor. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Phil Brown. Picture: Sharon Lucey

Pompey v Southend: The Opposition View

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Michael Appleton has lauded the system he believes is bringing the best out of David Norris.

Pompey’s skipper struck in stoppage time to clinch a dramatic 1-0 triumph over Burnley on Saturday.

It was a first victory on the Blues’ travels since March, a run stretching 14 matches.

For Norris it was a fifth goal of the season - and his second in three matches since being asked to operate in a more advanced role.

Appleton has asked the 30-year-old to play ahead of the central midfield pairing and just behind Dave Kitson.

It’s a 4-4-1-1 formation which has reaped seven points in three games.

And Appleton is adamant it is allowing Pompey to play to the strengths of Norris.

He said: ‘The style of football I want to play – and the formation I want to play – suits David down to the ground.

‘You can see he’s got a new lease of life about him.

‘He’s really enjoying his football and hopefully that will continue.

‘When he plays in a two as a midfield player, what he tends to do is isolate the other midfield player if he gets forward too soon.

‘If it breaks down we get hit on the counter and have only got one in the middle of the park.

‘Now he’s got the security of Hayden (Mullins) and George (Thorne) behind him, so he can get up and support Kits as and when he wants to.

‘He get can go up in support or go in behind the opposition and knows he’s got the security behind him. Against Burnley I asked him to be a little bit more sensible.

‘I told him to pick his times, don’t get up and support Kits all the time, be in a little bit more contact with Hayden and George.

‘That’s what he did and he scored a lovely goal.

‘I see him do that in training all the time.

‘Sometimes he has a touch too much and then just lets one fly but that was a great finish.’

Norris has been a player on the Pompey boss’ radar for a while.

During his days working on the coaching staff at West Brom, Appleton came across the midfielder several times.

And he is relishing finally having the opportunity to work with him.

He added: ‘David did ever so well in some League Cup games against West Brom.

‘I have also seen him two or three times in games where I was watching players, not necessarily him. I’ve come away thinking “that Norris is not bad”.

‘Now I’ve got the chance to work with him.

‘He’s a good footballer. We have got some good footballers in the team.’