Henderson grateful for helping hand from Jamo

Stephen Henderson'keeper'Pompey take on Havant in the big friendly derby clash at West Leigh Park''Credit Dave Haines
Stephen Henderson'keeper'Pompey take on Havant in the big friendly derby clash at West Leigh Park''Credit Dave Haines
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Rotherham 1-0 Pompey: they said what?

Have your say

New Pompey goalkeeper Stephen Henderson revealed former Blues favourite David James played his part in pointing the way to Fratton Park.

The Irishman was team-mates with the ex-England star during their time together at Bristol City last season, after James quit Pompey for a fresh challenge last summer.

But once Steve Cotterill registered his interest, Henderson was given a glowing report from James about the potential move.

He also learned that the former Pompey number one had taken the time to speak to his former club and offer his own recommendation about the talented shot-stopper.

Henderson explained: ‘I spoke to Jamo before I came to Portsmouth and I also found out that he went out of his way to ring them up and give me a reference to tell them what I was about.

‘I was very, very grateful for that. He’s a top man and a great goalkeeper.’

James spent four years at Fratton Park after moving from Manchester City in 2006 and was a key part of Pompey’s FA Cup victory in 2008.

And while the popular glovesman was a unique character, he became a hugely popular figure with supporters as his form earned him an England recall.

Henderson knows he faces a tough challenge to emulate James’ achievements – particularly as he has to bat-tle Jamie Ashdown to earn a place in the side.

But the 23-year-old is ambitious and eager to get his chance.

Henderson said: ‘Jamo was great to work with.

‘Only now since I’ve left, I’ve heard so many stories about what a top bloke he was for Portsmouth and what he did for the club when they were going through the rough patch.

‘He’s obviously done a great job and hopefully there are a few more years left in him at Bristol City.

‘Of course, it’s going to be hard to live up to someone like that.

‘But I’m not Jamo – I’m my own person.

‘I just want to prove myself to the supporters and show them what I can do.’

Henderson has had little to do in the club’s pre-season fixtures so far as he has shared the matches with Ashdown.

But while James admitted he used to get bored in goal when he had little to do, Henderson believes he has to learn to control that feeling in a bid to improve.

He said: ‘It’s been strange in pre-season because I don’t think I’ve really had a save to make yet.

‘You want to show people what you’re about and you don’t want to go too many games without doing much.

‘But the other side of that is if you are keeping clean sheets, you can’t complain about not being busy.

‘If you are not involved in the game, you want a back-pass or just something to do.

‘You have to learn to control that because you live by your clean sheets.

‘But you can do nothing for 89 minutes and make that one save to win you a game.

‘That’s the difference between greatness and an average Joe.’