Steve Cotterill believes Pompey are unravelling the Dave Kitson enigma.
The Blues boss paid tribute to his striker’s form and the role he has played in the club’s charge towards the play-offs.
Cotterill reckons Pompey are now seeing the best of the 31-year-old, who has hit eight goals since arriving from Stoke in August.
He paid tribute to the work-rate and manner in which Kitson is leading from the front in Pompey’s 4-3-3-cum-
That was evident as he ate up the yards in the success at Leicester last weekend.
Cotterill feels Kitson is now at home at Fratton Park and is comfortable in his surroundings.
Much is made of the hitman’s deep-thinking nature, but his manager feels Pompey now have a firm grasp of what makes him tick.
That is helping them to ensure they have a striker who will cause problems for their rivals.
Cotterill said: ‘I thought Dave Kitson was superb at Leicester.
‘We would not have won last week if it wasn’t for him.
‘My word, he works hard. As ungainly as he looks he will run himself into the ground for you.
‘He’s good in our box as well which gets overlooked a lot at times.
‘He’s quite a deep lad. We hope we’ve found a little way into him and can work into the personality that he’s got and open him up.
‘He’s a really dry, funny lad and he plays with a smile on his face.
‘That’s why he is playing well for us.’
Cotterill also reserved praise for Pompey’s other main source of goals in David Nugent.
He admitted he’s ‘living in hope’ that the Scouser will remain at the club beyond the summer when his current deal comes to close.
There has been no progress on that front, though, and Cotterill is no closer to finding out if he’ll stay.
Nugent grabbed his 12th strike of the campaign at Leicester in a season in which his manager believes he has delivered excellent form.
Cotterill said: ‘The only thing that saddens me about Nuge is his contract is up at the end of the season. That’s the worst.
‘I love him. He’s a great lad. We all live in hope that he’ll stay.
‘I knew the kid before he came here and I know him even better now.
‘He’s flourished this season and I’m delighted for him.
‘I’m delighted the ball dropped to him at Leicester last week. It had to drop to him or Kits really for us. It was a great finish.’