Viking shocked by Fratton exit

Erik Huseklepp was reluctant to leave Pompey
Erik Huseklepp was reluctant to leave Pompey
Stuart O'Keefe battles Osman Sow for the ball. Picture: Joe Pepler

O’Keefe: Pompey have finally clicked

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Erik Huseklepp admitted his whirlwind exit from Pompey has left his head in a spin.

The Norwegian revealed his Fratton Park departure was tinged with sadness, after completing a loan move to Birmingham until the end of season.

Huseklepp explained he only agreed to leave after being told it would help the club’s desperate money problems.

The 27-year-old moved to St Andrew’s on loan until the end of the season, but will not feature against his parent club next month in their Championship clash.

The Pompey top scorer admitted the switch came as a bolt from the blue, and it was a wrench to leave the club he joined last August.

He said: ‘I hadn’t heard anything and I was back in Norway for a short trip.

‘Then, I suddenly got a call from my agent saying Birmingham wanted me, and also Portsmouth had said yes.

‘I didn’t know what to do and it was a very tough couple of days.

‘Portsmouth fans have been so good to me and I’m really enjoying my time here.

‘So I wasn’t sure what to do, but the club said they wanted me to go because of financial difficulties and it would help the club if I left.

‘My head was in a spin. I didn’t expect that one. I didn’t know what to do really.

‘When the club said it would help them, I couldn’t really do anything else.

‘I guess if it helps the club then it’s the first thing.

‘I just hope the fans aren’t too angry with me.’

Huseklepp will swap a Championship relegation fight for a promotion push for the rest of the campaign, after linking up with Chris Hughton’s side.

But that fact hasn’t diluted his disappointment at leaving the supporters he built a close relationship with after signing from Italian outfit Bari for £1.5m.

Huseklepp thanked the Fratton faithful for welcoming him with open arms.

He said: ‘I’ve enjoyed it so very much. I’ve always been comfortable at Portsmouth.

‘The fans have been fantastic to me, that’s why I have a heavy heart.

‘They have been amazing and I thank them for all they’ve done for me, and how they have taken care of me.

‘I appreciate it so, so much.

‘But the club is struggling, Birmingham wanted to sign me and I have to focus on that.

‘I just hope it helps the club financially.’

Meanwhile, Kelvin Etuhu, has signed a new short-term deal with Pompey which will keep him at the club until mid-March.