Cotterill salutes Pompey’s ‘major coup’

Jason Pearce is unveiled at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler
Jason Pearce is unveiled at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill saluted Pompey’s ‘major coup’ after landing in-demand Jason Pearce.

The highly-regarded central defender yesterday returned to Fratton Park, having served as an apprentice with the Blues before leaving for Bournemouth in 2007.

Pearce has penned a three-year contract after joining from the Cherries for a fee in the region of £300,000.

A 50-per-cent sell-on clause inserted by former chief executive Peter Storrie back in 2007 enabled Pompey to get the 23-year-old in a cut-price deal.

Now Pearce will join the rest of his team-mates for the start of pre-season training on Friday.

For Cotterill, it completes a week spent doggedly pursuing Pearce.

Barnsley and Peterborough had also been in the hunt for the Cherries’ captain.

Yet Pompey were always in the box seat for the Eastleigh-based Pearce, especially with the clause coming into play.

Yesterday represented the first time in almost two years that the Blues have bought a player.

The last was when Paul Hart splashed out £3m on Mike Williamson on September 1, 2009.

And Cotterill believes he has captured Pearce for a ‘snip’.

He said: ‘I think Jason’s whole-hearted approach is infectious, not just to the public but to his team-mates. It is refreshing.

‘He has shown very good leadership skills at Bournemouth for a young man.

‘I think left-sided centre-backs at this moment in time in the UK are at a premium, so to get a good, young English one with potential is a major coup for the club.

‘To also get a young boy at £300,000 was a snip, really. We are delighted we have been able to do that deal.

‘He is a tough boy, definitely no shrinking violet.

‘There may be centre forwards who get the better of him next season at some stage, especially early on. We will have to wait and see where he is and how he starts the season.

‘One thing’s for sure, though, they won’t have an easy game against him. Someone will know they have been in a game against him.

‘Jason’s a man, even though he is fresh faced. He looks as if he has that little bit of steely determination when you look deep into his eyes.

‘There was a little bit of something there that I quite liked and there is a bit of confidence in there, not arrogance.’

Pompey will be without Pearce for the first three games of next season.

The defender is scheduled to serve a three-match ban following his sending off in Bournemouth’s play-off semi-final second-leg defeat to Huddersfield.

Regardless, Cotterill is tipping him for a bright future.

Cotterill added: ‘There are a few things I have chatted with Jason about.

‘These are things I feel we will definitely need to brush up on with him.

‘I think in a year’s time he will be a much better player.

‘I don’t mean any disrespect to any of the Bournemouth lads but training with players who have had a bit more experience at a higher level will definitely improve him.’