Pompey defender gives boss a headache

Ricardo Rocha
Ricardo Rocha
Sonny Bradley, right, will face his old side this weekend. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Ricardo Rocha toasted his return to the Pompey starting line-up and declared: Now I want to stay.

The Portuguese defender completed his first full match since Pompey’s last clean sheet – the 2-0 win at Norwich back in December – and made his first start since January 3 as the Blues sealed a valuable shut-out on their way to victory at Doncaster.

The 32-year-old has had a succession of niggling injuries this season.

However, he added composure and experience to the defence on Saturday, as he turned in a fine display alongside the outstanding Greg Halford in their first match as a central partnership.

In the absence of Aaron Mokoena, who had to stay in South Africa to renew his work permit, Rocha is now determined to make it hard for boss Steve Cotterill to restore the captain.

Rocha said: ‘I want to stay in the team.

‘We have a small squad but everyone wants to play.

‘It’s the gaffer who picks the team but anyone wants to make it difficult for him to leave you out.

‘When it’s not easy for him, it’s good for the team.’

Rocha eventually rejoined Pompey after protracted negotiations in August and missed pre-season, which has affected his fitness.

But now he believes he is fully fit once again.

He said: ‘Unfortunately, I wasn’t here for pre-season so it made things a little bit difficult for me

‘I’ve had a few annoying injuries, too.

‘It’s been frustrating for me because when I start to feel well, I’ve picked up a small injury.

‘I feel fit now, though. I have been working hard on my fitness and I think I proved that I am fit.’