O'Keefe impressed with Pompey rival

Ben Close battles for possession against Southend.
Ben Close battles for possession against Southend.
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Ben Close has earned the admiration of his Pompey midfield rival.

Stuart O'Keefe has been handed a return to Kenny Jackett's side in the last two games.

It's an opportunity to have arisen following a thigh injury to the in-form Close.

The Fratton youngster had previously started 13 successive League One matches, many alongside O’Keefe, before injury struck.

And Close’s one-time partner has been impressed with his ongoing development.

O’Keefe said: ‘Ben has done well. He’s a young lad who has his taste of first-team football and done brilliantly, to be fair to him.

‘He had a good start to the season and will have a good career.

‘Ben’s got to keep going, keep his head and make sure he is fit when he comes back.

‘This competition is great for the team. Everyone is pushing everyone and training is getting more and more intense and competitive.

‘The edge is getting there, which is what we want, ultimately.’