Pompey boss lauds new signing

Connor Ronan

Promising midfielder open to Pompey stay

Steve Cotterill pointed to new signing Ritchie de Laet and insisted: We need a few more like him.

The Manchester United defender, who last week joined on loan until the end of the season, made an impressive debut in the 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest and was one of the major positives to come out of an otherwise disappointing weekend.

De Laet was handed his bow at right-back – an area of the pitch where Cotterill has the rare luxury of a selection choice with Greg Halford and Joel Ward both having regularly filled the role so far this term.

But the Pompey boss has yet to decide if right-back will be de Laet's long-term position during his Fratton Park stay.

Cotterill said: 'He can play anywhere.

'I knew he would do well for us and will continue to do well for us. I thought he was very good.

'He's got excellent quality, he's got very good pace, no-one will run him, we saw that, no-one will run him.

'It's amazing what you can do when you get a few players.'

Ward was pushed into a central midfield role and impressed again, while Halford could be used further forward when he returns from suspension.

But De Laet can play anywhere across the back four and showed enough quality on the ball to suggest he could also do an effective job in midfield.

While Cotterill was full of praise for his new signing, he was quick to deflect the blame from Ibrahima Sonko for the calamitous own goal, which led to Pompey's late demise.

Cotterill said: 'Sonko had a great game.

'If Aaron Mokoena had stepped around, he could have headed it and the ball wouldn't get in there in the first place.

'If Aaron took a step back and his distances were right, he could have headed it.

'We headed every ball up until then and we had one slip.'