Knight tips Ashdown to keep shining

Jamie Ashdown
Jamie Ashdown
Brett Pitman scores his first goal in Pompey's match at Oldham. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

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Jamie Ashdown has been backed to continue to shine as Pompey’s No1.

Blues goalkeeping hero Alan Knight believes Ashdown will keep up the good work after an ever-present campaign for his side.

Steve Cotterill last week challenged the 30-year-old to improve next season and make fewer mistakes.

Cotterill is lining up another keeper to push Ashdown for his place in the side.

Knight, who was the man who scouted Ashdown and recommended him to Harry Redknapp before he arrived in 2004, believes he will rise to that challenge.

He said: ‘Jamie’s shown consistency.

‘When you play that many games at that level it’s about consistency. Okay, there have been a couple of mistakes but in the bigger picture that isn’t too bad over the course of a season.

‘Steve wants to get someone in who will push Jamie. And Jamie will also want that.

‘All you can ask as a keeper is to start on a level playing field.

‘It will go on performances who will get into the team.

‘Whoever is playing the best gets into the team and the other person has to wait for their chance.

‘It will be good for the club if we have two quality keepers vying for the number one spot.

‘Jamie is a very good Championship keeper. People were pointing the finger in the Premier League and maybe he was slow on one or two things.

‘But confidence-wise he is going to benefit from having that season under his belt. Confidence-wise he can definitely move on from there.

‘Last season showed a few people what he can do and will help his belief as well.

‘It was a big season for him. The manager wanted to do that and see he could do that.

‘He would have looked at the games he played before last season and that would have been a massive question mark over him.

‘But he has dispelled the fears Steve may have had over him.’

Ashdown’s 50 appearances for Pompey last season is three short of the total he mustered previously for the club since joining from Reading.

He has had to show patience but was rewarded for that when he was re-signed after being released last summer.

Knight said: ‘It’s been a strange one for Jamie and it’s been tough on him.

‘He’s been behind some very good keepers.

‘It’s a strange story to get released and get called back in again and then play every game. That can be tough but he’s handled it well.

‘He’s had some frustrating years but is a lovely lad and a real quiet boy.

‘He’s stuck to his task without moaning and groaning.’