Lalkovic ready to make up for lost time at Pompey

Milan Lalkovic is determined the make the most of his Pompey career after a difficult first season
Milan Lalkovic is determined the make the most of his Pompey career after a difficult first season
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Milan Lalkovic celebrated his return to the Pompey first team and revealed: I want to make up for lost time.

The Slovakian moved to the Blues from Walsall last summer but endured a difficult maiden season at Fratton Park.

Lalkovic struggled to stamp his authority on the team and opted to join Ross County on loan during the second half of the campaign.

The former Chelsea winger returned to Pompey with a point to prove and impressed manager Kenny Jackett during pre-season.

He was set to start in the Blues’ League One curtain-raiser against Rochdale, but picked up ankle ligament damage in the build-up.

After four matches on the sidelines, the pacey winger made his first Pompey appearance since January in the 1-1 draw against his former side Walsall on Saturday.

And Lalkovic is now desperate to continue his progress at Fratton Park.

He said: ‘It was nice to be back on the pitch, but obviously I am disappointed we didn’t win.

‘What happened is crazy and I was a bit unlucky with the injury.

‘I was ready to start against Rochdale on the first day.

‘Those things happen and I worked hard when I was out injured to keep my fitness levels up.

‘My first training session back was on Thursday.

‘The manager has trusted me and I enjoyed it. It’s just a shame we didn’t win and it was a bit sloppy from me for the goal we conceded.

‘I thought their man was going to play it to the right-back, but he checked inside of me and put a dangerous ball in.

‘We reacted well to their goal, to be fair, and I need to be switched on in the future.

‘I just have to keep going and I’m looking to make up for lost time.

‘Although I felt okay out there, I will carry on getting fitter.

‘Then I will start creating and scoring goals again.’

Brett Pitman rescued a point for Jackett’s troops by converting from the penalty spot in the 74th minute, after Nicke Kabamba was brought down by Walsall keeper Mark Gillespie.

The Blues skipper cancelled out Luke Leahy’s opener from close range two minutes after the restart.

Lalkovic was surprisingly selected to start against his former club over Kyle Bennett – who was moved to the bench after the 3-0 defeat at Oxford United.

The 24-year-old admitted he felt mixed emotions featuring against his previous employer.

And he praised the Saddlers’ gritty performance and their ability to neutralise Pompey’s attacking players.

‘There were mixed emotions as I nearly made 100 games for Walsall,’ Lalkovic added.

‘They are a different team now to when I was there. They were more physical

‘Well done to them. They made it difficult for us and we were not at our best given how we know we can play.

‘Football is a mad game. They took a point and so did we and we go again at Wigan next week.

‘We need to work hard on the training pitch.

‘At the end of the day, we earned a point.

‘The league is a marathon and not a sprint.’