On this day in 2011, Steve Cotterill was hailed for his work in 'one of the hardest jobs in football’.
That was the verdict of Jamie Ashdown, who believed Pompey’s boss was excelling in the Fratton Park hot seat.
As well as lauding Cotterill as the main reason behind the Blues’ turnaround in fortunes, the keeper was convinced his manager could continue performing miracles against the odds.
At the time, Pompey found themselves free from the threat of relegation from the Championship with nine games remaining, despite unceasing financial restrictions.
Heading to Leicester for their next game, they even had the opportunity to maintain an unlikely play-off push, such had been their remarkable transformation.
With 19 points from a possible 24 and seven clean sheets, they were one of the Championship’s form sides.
Not bad for a team who were bottom of the table for 27 days in September 2010 and went 10 matches without victory at the turn of the year.
Ashdown put that turnaround down to his manager.
And he was adamant Cotterill was emphatically proving his quality in one of the toughest positions around.
Speaking to The News, Ashdown said: ‘It has been difficult for all of us this season.
‘I’m sure there were people calling for the manager’s resignation after the first seven games – but he’s got such a good spirit.
‘He works hard at things, has kept us all together and built on what we’ve got.
‘It has been mainly him that has got this amazing turnaround.
‘It has probably been one of the hardest jobs in football.
I know there are other teams that have struggled with money, gone into administration, or got to the brink of administration, or whatever.
‘But the gaffer has probably had it the hardest, especially with everything else that has been going on.
‘We had the smallest squad in the Football league for a long while.
‘i’m not exactly sure how many players we even had at that time but it was tough.
‘We’ve remained resilient, though, and just kept pushing forward.
‘And that’s down to the gaffer, who continues to do a tremendous job for this football club.’