Midfielder backed to solve goal-scoring woes

David Norris in Pompey training
David Norris in Pompey training
Dave Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Birmingham wins Irish friends as he eyes future title

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David Norris is the man to solve Pompey’s goal-scoring woes.

That is the verdict of Steve Cotterill, who has given the former Ipswich skipper a licence to attack this season.

Norris bagged 11 goals from the centre of midfield last term, all from open play.

It was an impressive return the Blues boss is hoping the 29-year-old can maintain in his new surroundings.

Pompey netted just four times in the final 10 matches as their late play-off charge fizzled out.

Three of those came from David Nugent, who is no longer at Fratton Park having completed his long-anticipated switch to Leicester on Tuesday.

Liam Lawrence was the most prolific midfielder with eight goals, five coming from the spot.

But he failed to find the net again after scoring a penalty against Hull on January 3.

Now Norris has arrived to bolster the Blues’ squad.

And Cotterill is adamant he can provide that missing goal threat.

He said: ‘When you look at David, obviously there are things that stand out.

‘He’s a very fit boy. We looked at the stats when we played Ipswich last year and his were well up there with the Liam Lawrences of this world.

‘If you are running as much in a game as Liam does then you are going to be putting a shift in.

‘And he also adds goals to our midfield, which was probably missing.

‘We felt as though we needed more goals in the team, we know that. We need more goals in our striking department, we need more goals from our wide players, we need more goals from midfield.

‘If you have a look at our last 10 games of the season that is where we fell short.

‘We scored four goals in that period which is why we nose dived.

‘We haven’t been really free-scoring but David can put that right.

‘We were lucky with David, very lucky. He wanted to sign for us, he was smitten.’

Norris is expected to make his Pompey bow in Monday’s opening friendly against the Hawks (7.45pm).

And Cotterill believes fans will like what they see.

He added: ‘David has been one of the better players in the free agent market this summer.

‘He’s a really good lad, the right type, a fit boy who lives right. You cannot have enough of them.

‘He will add good leadership skills. He was captain at Ipswich, you don’t get to be captain of that club lightly.

‘To be fair, David wanted to come here and didn’t waiver either. That was really pleasing.

‘I hope he gets his rewards based on that because he showed great patience and great loyalty after saying to me he wanted to come.’

Meanwhile, reported Blues target Hal Robson-Kanu has signed a new Reading deal.

The 22-year-old, who was out of contract this summer, has put pen-to-paper on a three-year contract.