Cotterill throws down gauntlet to Hermannator

Hermann Hreidarsson is back in the first-team frame at Pompey
Hermann Hreidarsson is back in the first-team frame at Pompey
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Steve Cotterill made no apologies for his handling of Hermann Hreidarsson’s return and told the defender: Now take your chance.

Hreidarsson has spoken of his frustration at his lack of playing time since coming back from his ruptured Achilles.

The fans’ favourite was strongly linked with a move away from Fratton Park before the close of the transfer window this week.

The 36-year-old has stayed put, however, and completed his first 90 minutes since March this week when he started against QPR.

Cotterill has held back Hreidarsson since he returned to the fray in October.

That has tested the Iceland international’s patience but the Pompey boss is insistent that’s been the right thing to do.

Now he wants to see Hreidarsson make the most of being handed a starting role.

Cotterill said: ‘I don’t know whether Hermann has understood (being held back) and I am particularly not bothered about that.

‘To say I don’t care sounds strong but I don’t care because my eyes tell me what they tell me.

‘He has got better, I think, within maybe the last couple of weeks.

‘There are times when it drops, what we have just got to make sure now is he replicates games back-to-back.

‘We will have the same situation with Danny Webber when he comes back.

‘It’s very, very difficult. I think until you have had a career-threatening or a long-standing injury, you don’t quite know what it’s like when you are coming back: the fear factor of all that happening to you again, one wrong movement. He has done great.

‘We are really, really pleased with him and for him.

‘If he has got frustrated I am not bothered about that because if I bring him back too early because I rush him back and he snaps his Achilles again, whose fault is that?

‘Is that my fault or his fault?

‘I am really not unduly bothered about his frustrations when he thinks he should be back or not.

‘Hermann did well at QPR. I’m pleased for him. It’s taken a long time and it’s taken a lot of training but he’s got to make sure he takes his chance now. That was his first 90 minutes.

‘It’s a bit different sometimes when you are away from home. There is not as much running to be done as when you’re at home because we like our full-backs to attack at Fratton Park.

‘I think the game will only do him good and we will have to see where he is from here.’

Hreidarsson underlined the fact he was not angling for a move away this week, despite his lack of minutes.

The player’s agent said a number of sides were interested in him, with Scottish giants Rangers strongly linked.

Now the defender is looking to play a major role in injecting life into Pompey’s season.

Hreidarsson said: ‘Nothing happened. I wasn’t desperate to leave or anything. It was one of these things.

‘I wasn’t looking for a move. I want to play football, though, and enjoy myself out there.

‘I enjoy playing football, I feel good out there.

‘I’ve had a couple of 70 minutes and half a game.

‘Now I’ve had 90 minutes out there and I enjoyed it. So I’m closer and closer to my best.

‘I want to give something back and to do that I have to be out there. That’s the only way to contribute to the team.

‘I want to contribute to the club so I want to be out there when it matters.’