Skipper’s pride in leading Blues

Dave Kitson skippered Pompey to victory over Scunthorpe and scored
Dave Kitson skippered Pompey to victory over Scunthorpe and scored
Milan Lalkovic. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Pompey v Walsall: Pre-match talking points

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Dave Kitson spoke of his pride at being handed the Pompey captaincy and admitted: I didn’t know it would mean this much to me.

The Blues striker led a team for the first time in his career in the recent 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

And he retained the armband for the midweek 2-0 victory over Scunthrope United, sealing his elevation with the opening goal.

Liam Lawrence has taken over the duties from club captain Aaron Mokoena when the South African has been unavailable or not selected this term.

But with Lawrence sidelined because of a calf problem for the past two games – and now expected to be missing for a further fortnight – Kitson got the job from Steve Cotterill.

Now Kitson is itching to retain the key role as Pompey go in search of a sixth straight victory when they host Sheffield United tomorrow.

He said: ‘It’s a strange one. If you had asked me before, I would have said that it doesn’t make an awful lot of difference but it’s strange how a little band around your arm really does make a difference.

‘It does bring something out of you where you feel more responsibility and a bit more pride in your performance.

‘You are more aware that you are doing it for everyone else and you have been chosen to lead one city against another, if you like.

‘I’ve never done it before and I wasn’t even captain for my school team.

‘It never really bothered me in the past – I never aspired to be a captain.

‘I just aspired to play football and it never made any difference in the past.

‘But it’s been nice. It’s been a proud moment for me in my career and I really mean that. There is something about it.’

It’s testament to the 31-year-old’s influence on the side that his manager sees him as a leader in the group.

But Kitson does not expect to keep the job full-time.

He said: ‘If it goes back to Aaron or Liam in the next game then it wouldn’t bother me too much.

‘But it’s been a nice experience while it’s lasted and I’d be delighted to do it again if I’m asked.’

Kitson, meanwhile, has warned Pompey to expect another battle in tomorrow’s encounter with the struggling Blades at Fratton Park.

Cotterill’s side are looking for a sixth straight win, while visitors Sheffield United are in deep relegation trouble.

But Kitson has urged the Blues to guard against complacency.

He said: ‘They are not having the best of times and we have hit some form.

‘But they are always dangerous games when teams are fighting for their lives.

‘I’ve been in that position myself and sometimes you can pick up results that you would never have thought you would get.

‘You are full of heart, you are scrapping and you fight for every ball and we’ve got to be aware of that.

‘We’ve got to play with the same sort of intensity that we have played with for the past five games.’