Pompey attacker insists hard work has only just begun

Milan Lalkovic scores against Salisbury. Picture: Colin Farmery
Milan Lalkovic scores against Salisbury. Picture: Colin Farmery
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Milan Lalkovic revealed his delight after scoring Pompey’s opener at Salisbury.

And the Slovakian is looking forward to the pre-season challenges that lie ahead.

The Blues started off their summer friendly campaign in comprehensive fashion with a 3-0 victory against Steve Claridge’s men at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Kenny Jackett fielded a completely different team for the second period.

Lalkvoic was playing his first game in a Pompey shirt since facing Exeter City for the reserves in a Central League Cup clash in January.

He was loaned out to Ross County for the second half of last season, although he also struggled for pitch time at the Scottish Premier League outfit.

Lalkovic replaced Kyle Bennett on the left wing of a 4-2-3-1 system and broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with a well-taken finish.

The winger latched on to Curtis Main’s clever through ball.

The ex-Walsall man waited for Whites goalkeeper Charlie Searle to make a move before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Lalkovic said: ‘It was a great ball through by Curtis to find me.

‘I made a decent run to get into the space.

‘At first, I was going to lob the goalkeeper.

‘Then I saw he started to drop back, so I went around him and slotted the ball past him.

‘I enjoyed being out there and the boys were giving me the ball a lot.

‘Some games, you don’t get the ball as much but I enjoyed trying to find space and get on the ball. It was a good workout.’

The 24-year-old was an attacking menace throughout the second period at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium and gave new boss Jackett a glimpse of the talent he possesses.

Lalkovic hugged the left touchline and gave his side width, which caused problems for the hosts.

Not only was the former Chelsea attacker on the scoresheet but he also played a key role in Ben Close’s goal to wrap the match up.

A weaving run combined with pace, power and multiple stepovers was followed by a dangerous cross begging to be attacked by a blue shirt.

Despite the ball being cleared off the line by a Salisbury defender, it fell kindly to Close on the edge of the box.

The Pompey Academy graduate remained composed and took a decent touch before firing home off the underside of the crossbar.

Saturday’s game came just two days after the Fratton Park side returned for pre-season training.

Lalkovic admitted his first game back after a summer break took its toll – despite him only playing for 45 minutes.

But he enjoyed his run out and is excited to get back to training as the Blues prepare for a trip to the Hawks at Westleigh Park this Saturday (3pm).

‘I was really tired towards the end,’ added Lalkovic.

‘We have only been back to training for two days.

‘We did well both in the first half and second half.

‘The boys in the first half did really well and we won the game.

‘I always like playing matches more than training.

‘It’s always easier going on the attack than tracking back.

‘It was a good workout for us.

‘At the moment, it’s about fitness and not winning games.

‘This week is going to be tough because it is pre-season.

‘We have got a few double sessions but I am looking forward to it and then we have another game on Saturday.’