Jamie Ashdown savoured the best season of his career and declared: I’m glad I stayed put.
The Pompey No1 believes his campaign to remember has justified him staying patient after being bombed out by the Blues last summer.
Ashdown was released after six years spent largely as an understudy at Fratton Park.
But Steve Cotterill took the decision to bring the 30-year-old back in after David James dallied over remaining at the club.
Ashdown has rewarded that move with an ever-present campaign which has seen him step out of the shadows of his predecessors.
And the keeper also landed the club’s post-war league record for minutes not conceding, going 636 minutes without shipping a goal.
Ashdown admits he feels firmly established now and that this season has been a career high.
He said: ‘I’m really glad I waited and signed now. I know I made the right decision.
‘I’ve done my time and as a keeper, sometimes you have to hang in there and wait for your moment.
‘I think it’s been a blessing waiting, in a way.
‘I could have been edgy at the beginning of the season and thought “Portsmouth haven’t done me any favours” and gone somewhere else.
‘I could have done that to spite the club and gone elsewhere.
‘So I had to get over the fact really that I’d been released.
‘I had the invitation to go to America for pre-season.
‘Steve (Cotterill) pulled me into doing that because I wasn’t too sure about it. There was no promise of a contract after that.
‘I was just starting to train. I played out there and didn’t feel match-fit. I needed to get started, though.
‘It has been worth it the way it has worked out, though.
‘The first year at the club and this year have been the best years for me.
‘The first season I played some games in the Premier League and we did okay. But this season has been brilliant for me. Hopefully I can still be here for a long time.’
Ashdown is now just two games from making it an ever-present campaign for Pompey.
He has had to overcome injuries and illness, including a burst appendix, to be the only Blues player in a position to do that.
But he has no doubt whatsoever he has seen the rewards for that dedication.
Ashdown said: ‘Now it’s starting to sink in what it takes to play all season.
‘You have your ups and downs and you have your problems and injuries.
‘It’s about how you get round that sort of thing.
‘It makes you stronger and it will hold me in good stead moving forward.
‘Personally, it’s been a joy to play for Portsmouth. I’ve played and I feel I’m into my groove and playing well.’