Blues can wait for Bird

Guy Whittingham has pledged Ryan Bird's holiday-enforced exit won't hamper his chances of signing for Pompey.

Thursday, 11th July 2013, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:20 pm
Ryan Bird, left, celebrates with Jed Wallace at Westleigh Park

The 24-year-old triallist today departed for Spain with his girlfriend for a week, ruling him out of friendlies at Bognor and Braintree.

He also misses next week’s pre-season tour, when the Blues will spend six days at a Colchester hotel complex.

It adds up to unfortunate timing for the Burnham striker who bagged two goals during an impressive maiden 45 minutes in a Pompey shirt at the Hawks on Tuesday night.

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Whittingham, though, is undeterred by Bird’s absence.

The Blues manager has also seen enough of him in training since the start of last week to consider him worth waiting for.

He said: ‘I know personally what it is like when you are 24 and get a chance (to play professionally) because I was the same age as Ryan.

‘It’s nice for you to go somewhere and he’s full of enthusiasm, is a really, really nice kid and very down to earth.

‘He is on holiday – something he already had arranged, so it doesn’t worry us.

‘We will see what we can do with him and what he wants to do. I am quite relaxed about it. He’s had this already booked and that is no problem.

‘There is obviously lots of room for his game to improve, as it would be, but one of the most important things he has is that knack to score goals.

‘Ryan looks a big target man and that will be useful to have in your side.

‘He now goes on holiday. We have told him to go away and enjoy it, and we will chat to him when he gets back.’

It took just 48 seconds for Bird, who scored 45 goals for Southern League division one central side Burnham last season, to open his Pompey account at Westleigh Park.

Ryan Woodford’s slide tackle saw the ball ricochet off Bird and loop over Hawks keeper Scott Bevan.

And the striker got his second on 41 minutes, when Jed Wallace’s half-volley was flicked into the net by Bird.

As agreed before the match, all those who started the first half didn’t come out after the break. That included Bird, who had shown enough to suggest he could be a fine signing for the Blues.

The next Pompey match he could be available to feature in will be the visit of Charlton to Fratton Park on July 20.

Whittingham, though, was impressed with his contribution against the Hawks – but he joked his goal celebrations might need a bit of work.

He added: ‘It was a fantastic start for Ryan.

‘But I will have to have a word with him about his celebrations! He was cupping his ears (to the crowd). I don’t know whether people were giving him a chant and he was taking stick!

‘The first goal was obviously a challenge. The ball has rebounded off him and gone in. For the second, he flicked it home and it is a good habit to have, obviously.

‘You don’t score 45 goals at any level without that knack and that is something he clearly has.’