Pompey spot-kick king relishing another chance to shine

Liam O'Brien. Picture: Joe Pepler
Liam O'Brien. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Oli Hawkins' first goal against MK Dons. Pictures: Joe Pepler

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PENALTY king Liam O’Brien is craving more drama to emphasise his Pompey credentials.

The Blues’ number two will make his third appearance for the club in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy visit of Bristol Rovers.

Tonight I want to have things to do, I don’t want to have 90 minutes with nothing to do and don’t get the result, it is so frustrating

Liam O’Brien

His spot-kick heroics caught the eye in last month’s outing against Reading under-23s, saving three successive penalties.

Regardless, Paul Cook’s men lost 4-3 in the shoot-out, following a 2-2 Fratton Park draw.

Now O’Brien has another chance to impress – and stake a claim to David Forde’s first-team position.

The 25-year-old said: ‘This is a chance for me to play games for the club.

‘You sign for Pompey and you want to play for Pompey, whether at the training ground or in a league game.

‘I am wearing a Pompey shirt, I don’t care the competition.

‘In training, in the 11v11, I want to be on the weaker team because I want to have things to do, it’s one of those things as a keeper.

‘Tonight I want to have things to do.

‘I don’t want to have 90 minutes with nothing to do and don’t get the result, it is so frustrating.

‘I am doing everything I can to get into the first-team and, if I get the chance, I will take it.’

Pompey need a win and for the result in the other group game to go their way to qualify for the next stage.

If the Blues find themselves involved in another penalty shoot-out, though, it means they cannot go through.

Still, O’Brien has proven himself adept at spot-kicks, following his triple save from Dominic Samuel, Shane Griffin and Tennai Watson.

And his secret? He doesn’t particularly practice.

He added: ‘I have been alright on penalties in my career, I would say I’ve saved probably 35-40 per cent.

‘It’s not like you can really practice them, it’s about going the right way and hoping you get something on it strong enough.

‘When you know which way you are going, you have to give it everything, so take a step and push as hard as you can.

‘You still see penalties where the pace beats the keeper into the corner, so if I push as hard as I can hopefully I can be quicker than the ball.

‘I make up my mind which way I’m going so as he pulls his leg back I take a step to the opposite side to make him think I am going that way – then I’ll push off from the other side. It may not make a difference, but could make him change his mind at the last minute.’