Henderson: I can rediscover love of game at Pompey

STEPHEN HENDERSON is out to rediscover his love of football at Pompey.

New Pompey keeper Stephen Henderson
New Pompey keeper Stephen Henderson

And the keeper told of his delight at finally being able to make a return to Fratton Park he’s long sought.

Henderson will make his second Blues debut against Doncaster on Saturday, after completing a loan move from Nottingham Forest for the remainder of the season.

The 29-year-old revealed he wants to find joy in the game once again after enduring difficult periods in his career.

An Achilles injury wrecked the Irishman’s progress at the City Ground, with Henderson being restricted to a single game this season since his return.

The former West Ham man explained there’s been plenty of tough times since leaving Pompey in 2012. Now he wants to get the vigour he’s lost back into his game.

Henderson said: ‘I want to get the love back for the game – and I think I can do that with these fans.

‘I think I can do that with Keelo (John Keeley) and Kenny Jackett.

‘I definitely did lose that with the stuff I’ve seen and politics I’ve witnessed. You get disheartened with it all.

‘There’s been some serious injuries which have left me in some dark places. Being in the gym on your own for eight months straight isn’t nice.

‘I always knew something would happen. I knew the harder I worked it would. I can’t put those hours in and then just call it a day.

‘I’ve taken myself out of the comfort zone, sent the missus and little one back to Ireland and come here on my own to fully commit to this.

‘There’s 12 weeks or so left of the season, so there’s no point in being half in it.’

Henderson revealed he previously tried to force a Pompey return after leaving the club for Upton Park.

The former Charlton man views his first stay as a happy period in his career – something he’s struggled to emulate elsewhere.

‘When Pompey were in League Two I tried to push it through when I was at West Ham,’ added Henderson.

‘It didn’t work but I tried to push it through. I spoke to Keelo to try to get it happening. It didn’t, though.

I really enjoyed it here. It was the first time in nine or 10 years I got that feeling before a game and enjoyed it 100 per cent.

‘I’ve been searching for it ever since, but unfortunately it’s not worked out in a few places. That’s the way it is.

‘There was no choice in me leaving. (Administrator) Trevor Birch was here at the time, said a bid had been accepted and I had to go.

‘West Ham were pushing for the Premier League, but I lost a lot of my career there.

‘Now I’m back and I just want to play. I’m fully aware that Luke (McGee’s) a talent and the fans seem to like him.

‘Me coming has gone down a bit indifferently from what I’ve seen and heard. I totally get it. I can play striker if that helps!

‘I had the same stuff here when I first sign so it’s a good challenge.’