Jason Pearce assessed an impressive start to his Pompey career but vowed: There’s a lot more to come from me.
The wholehearted defender has taken no time to become a firm fans’ favourite with his committed performances at the centre of the Blues defence after his summer switch from Bournemouth.
But while Pearce has adapted well to the step up in standard after playing in League Two, League One and now the Championship in three successive campaigns, he believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Looking back on the first half of the campaign, Pearce said: ‘It’s been good. I didn’t expect to get straight into the team but my chance came along and I think I have adapted quite well. I’m enjoying it.
‘In the Championship, the pace of the game is a lot quicker, you have to be more alert to danger and talk a lot more because you are up against better players.
‘Now I just want to keep on improving. I’ve made a start but it’s nothing more than that.
‘I want to keep doing well and just try to get better and better.
‘It’s been a really good test for me so far but I’m enjoying every minute of it.’
Pearce missed the first three games of the season through suspension after he was sent off in Bournemouth’s play-off semi-final defeat at Huddersfield last term.
But after serving his ban, the 24-year-old has since clocked up 20 consecutive appearances at the heart of the Pompey defence and admits the competition for his place has spurred him on.
Pearce said: ‘I had to adapt quickly because if I didn’t, I knew I would be out of the team. It’s as simple as that.
‘The quality of players you are playing against is a lot higher but you are also playing with better players who are internationals and plenty of them have played in the Premier League.
‘Everyone wants to play and I think that healthy competition helps bring the best out of me.’
Pompey may have been unable to find consistency this year but Pearce is convinced the team can embark on a run in 2012 to fire themselves up the Championship table.
He said: ‘People have set targets in the past and said “we should be getting here or we should be getting there”.
‘It’s all very well talking about it but it’s producing the results when they are needed.
‘It’s a boring thing to say but all we can do is concentrate on winning each game.
‘If we can get a run together, we have got a good chance of getting ourselves up there.
‘On our day, we know that we can beat anyone in this league but we know that consistency has been the problem for us.
‘A few wins will suddenly create a winning mentality and hopefully we can go from strength to strength.’
Pearce – a Chelsea fan in his younger days – also has an opportunity to fulfil a boyhood dream when Pompey travel to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup third round clash on Sunday, January 8.
He said: ‘When that draw came out, I was absolutely buzzing. I can’t wait for it.
‘It was my dream draw so it will be an amazing start to the new year.’