Legend’s backing for Blues keeper

Simon Eastwood has been backed to come good after his costly error at Oldham on Saturday
Simon Eastwood has been backed to come good after his costly error at Oldham on Saturday
Have your say

Alan Knight issued his staunch backing to under-fire Simon Eastwood but revealed: I am monitoring his confidence.

The Pompey goalkeeper was at fault for Jose Baxter’s long-range winner at Oldham on Saturday but is expected to be back in goal for tonight’s home clash with MK Dons.

While it’s understandable the 23-year-old Eastwood’s confidence will be at a low ebb because of the Blues’ dreadful run of results, Pompey legend Knight – the club’s goalkeeping coach does not feel it has been hit worse than any of the other players.

And Knight believes Eastwood is improving as a goalkeeper all the time.

He said: ‘Eastie’s confidence might be something that worries us but I think it’s still pretty good. Nobody likes conceding goals and confidence throughout the side is pretty low. I can’t make out that’s not the case. I don’t think Eastie’s confidence is any lower than anyone else’s. But I’m keeping an eye on it.

‘We’re all a bit low with the run we’re on but we’ve got to keep believing that it will turn around.

‘It’s been difficult for him. We have been conceding a lot of goals. We’ve managed to stem the flow a bit of late.

‘Apart from talent as a keeper, a lot is down to confidence and character, as well.

‘He’s learning, he’s a young keeper and he will get better.’

Eastwood responded well to the error at Boundary Park to turn in an otherwise assured display. But being behind a constantly-changing defence has not done him any favours this term.

And Knight, who made 801 appearances for Pompey in a 22-year career, knows all too well that it is the mistake that will be remembered from Saturday’s loss.

Knight said: ‘It was a combination of things.

‘It was disappointing that nobody closed the player down. Then it’s not a glaring mistake, but Eastie has admitted that he should have done a little bit better with it.

‘I think he just didn’t quite get to the pitch of the ball.

‘Mistakes happens, though. Joe Hart made a bad one recently against Southampton but nobody thinks he is suddenly a bad keeper.

‘It’s hard when you have made a mistake, but I was impressed with the way he responded. His handling was good and he made two or three exceptional saves.’

Knight, who returned to the Blues recently, has spotted plenty of potential in the former Halifax man.

He said: ‘He has been terrific to work with. Eastie wants to learn, he wants to look back on the goals he concedes and work out how to improve. To me, that’s a good sign.

‘His overall game is not bad, it’s just that he is playing in a side that is struggling and he is lacking a bit of experience.

‘He has not really played at this level before and has been chucked in the deep end.

‘Experience will come with games and so will communication with defenders and dominating his box more.’