Goalkeeping rival praises Forde's Pompey presence
Liam O'Brien has credited Pompey goalkeeping rival David Forde with improving his game.
And he has backed the team-mate he regards so highly to respond positively to the disappointment of Wycombe Wanderers.
O’Brien recorded his maiden Blues clean sheet on Tuesday night in the 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy.
It represented the 25-year-old’s third outing for the club he rejoined in August, initially on a month-to-month deal.
The Checkatrade Trophy aside, Forde has remained Paul Cook’s undisputed number one following a season-long loan move from Millwall.
Yet criticism has been levelled over his role in the Chairboys’ two goals during Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat for Pompey.
The previous match, Forde was a rock as the 10-man Blues secured a League Two victory at Cambridge United.
And O’Brien has plenty of admiration for the Republic of Ireland international.
He said: ‘Fordey is a great goalkeeper, you see him in training pulling off saves, age is just a number for him.
‘He is in great shape, is very strong when commanding his area and a good talker who knows the game very, very well.
‘He can make three or four mistakes on the spin and that wouldn’t phase him at all and that is where the experience comes in. He will make an important save.
‘We make an error and it will lead to a goal, whereas an outfield player can make five or six mistakes which lead to nothing and all is forgotten.
‘As a goalkeeper, you could make a rickett in the first minute and make 15 saves after that. You lose 1-0 and everyone remembers the mistake.
‘It is about mental strength and all comes down to playing games and experience, which Fordey has got.
‘If he makes a mistake he knows how to bounce back because he would have done it many times before.’
O’Brien is enjoying his second spell at Fratton Park, having departed in October 2010.
Recruited for the Academy by Paul Hart, he featured for Steve Cotterill in the 2010 pre-season, yet never made a first-team appearance.
Spells at Barnet, Brentford and Dagenham & Redbridge followed before his return to the south coast.
And he is grateful to Forde for aiding his development as he strives to break into Cook’s first-team.
He added: ‘You learn off each other. I learn things off Fordey and I’m sure he might say the same thing about me, he may have watched me do something different and tried it.
‘He has been a real help and is a lovely guy as well, easy to talk to, if there are any problems you can ask him, he’s there.
‘I’ve played with some great keepers, yet they have kept themselves to themselves and it is hard to learn off them. Whereas Fordey will always help you.
‘I am 25 and will keep learning and learning until I finish. To have someone like Fordey, who has been there and done it, is fantastic.
‘He’s up there with the best I have come across – and is a nice guy as well.’