Defender has loved becoming central figure at Pompey

Greg Halford during his debut at Millwall
Greg Halford during his debut at Millwall
Brett Pitman celebrates scoring the opening goal in Pompey's win against Southend

Stats prove Pompey depend on opening goal

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Greg Halford thanked Steve Cotterill for helping him find his on-pitch home.

The on-loan Blues man revealed he now sees himself firmly as a central defender after being moved there by his boss this season.

Halford has been a revelation in the middle after being shuffled across from right-back following an injury to Ricardo Rocha at Millwall last October.

Pompey went on to keep a clean sheet in the 1-0 win at the Den, sewing the seed in Cotterill’s mind he could excel in that position along the way.

It was a moment he returned to when searching for the answer to a poor run of goals conceded from his team later in the season.

Cotterill turned to Halford and asked him to partner Ricardo Rocha at Doncaster in February, paving the way for a record-breaking post-war tally of 636 league minutes without shipping a goal.

Now Halford brings down the curtain on his loan spell with the Blues at Scunthorpe tomorrow.

He will do that in the central position where he now sees his career continuing.

‘It’s been really good,’ said Halford, who is set to make his 33rd Pompey appearance at Glanford Park.

‘I seem to have found my position, which no other manager has been able to find.

‘I’ve had a consistent run there and I think my performances have been pretty consistent.

‘Hopefully, wherever I am in the summer, I will get a good pre-season in me and continue as a centre-back.

‘I want to learn a few more things and then hopefully make a proper career out of it.

‘It seems I’ve gone in there and played consistently well.

‘So I end up saying to myself “why hasn’t anyone found this for me?”.

‘I can’t answer other managers’ decision making.

‘I’ve always said I would like to play anywhere down the middle.

‘As a centre-back, centre-midfield or as a striker, I wouldn’t mind.

‘I would like to play down the middle where I can go either side.

‘Down the right you can be pretty limited and I don’t have the pace to get away from defenders.

‘So I’ve always said down the middle is the best place for me but I think this is the first manager who has listened!’

Many thought Greg Halford could have been in with a shout for The News/Sports Mail player of the season award, which was handed out this week.

Hayden Mullins was the man who topped the votes among readers after a fine season of consistency.

Halford believes the right man picked up the honour.

He said: ‘The fans picked the right player. He was the right person to win it.

‘It would have been nice if it was me, though!

‘Hayden’s been consistently good.

‘He’s missed one game through a suspension that came when it should never have been a sending off.

‘He’s been the best player consistency-wise.

‘It’s the same every single game – you know what you are going to get with Hayden.

‘He’s a bit of an unsung hero. He’s not always in the limelight.

‘But he’s a seven out of 10 every week and that’s what you need – especially in the middle of the park.

‘It’s hard to maintain that with such a small squad.

‘You have to recover well from games and be professional.

‘If you’re not you will get found out.’