Eastwood sets his targets

Simon Eastwood is determined to remain as Pompey's No1 next season
Simon Eastwood is determined to remain as Pompey's No1 next season
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Simon Eastwood is adamant he has added the consistency to his game which will allow him to remain as Pompey’s No1.

The keeper has laid down the challenge for himself to remain the Blues’ first-choice shot-stopper in League Two next season.

The 23-year-old established himself in goal over the second half of his first campaign at Fratton Park.

Eastwood stepped up from non-league level after playing at FC Halifax last season.

The on-loan Mikkel Andersen started the season as first choice before returning to Reading – allowing Eastwood to emerge.

He had to endure some tough periods as the Blues went 23 matches without a win, with Eastwood often left exposed.

But a string of fine displays over the campaign finale, including three clean sheets in four as Pompey lost just a single game in seven, showed his potential.

Now Eastwood wants to build on that form moving forward.

He said: ‘Personally, to get into the team and then keep the spot has been brilliant and it has meant I’ve added consistency to my game.

‘A lot of players who perhaps might not have got a look in elsewhere have been given a chance and I like to think I have taken mine.

‘The ambition for me is to keep the shirt to myself – I want to keep playing, keep clean sheets and win games.

‘We’ve been solid and hopefully that can be the case and we can have a real go. Why wouldn’t you want to stay and play for a club like this? Especially with the support we have.

‘I have to keep going and hopefully we’ll defend like we were at the end of the season.’

Eastwood is hoping boss Guy Whittingham can move quickly to keep his squad together.

He pinpointed striker Patrick Agyemang as a key man to retain.

‘Everyone has said that if we can keep the core together and the best players we have, that will be key,’ said Eastwood.

‘That’s especially the case with Pat because he’s been massive for us.

‘He just tends to boss everyone up there for us and give us a presence.

‘That helps me, too, if there’s a target man that I can kick the ball to.

‘Then players can play off him. That’s a big thing for us.’

Eastwood already has one eye on next season, despite the curtain only coming down on the lastest one at the weekend.

He said: ‘I’m going to relax and have a couple of holidays – one with the girlfriend and one with the lads.

‘I need to get the contract signed, relax and then look forward to next season.

‘It’s going to be a big season and everyone is looking forward to it.

‘We want to give it a real go. It’s nice to finish the season well over the past few games and the aim is to take that into next season.’