Pompey new boy salutes King

David Cotterill rushes to congratulate Kanu on his match-winning goal
David Cotterill rushes to congratulate Kanu on his match-winning goal
Pompey suffered defeat at Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss pledges to resolve defensive issues

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David Cotterill paid tribute to ‘unbelievable’ Kanu after witnessing the veteran inspire a first Fratton Park victory since October.

The Welsh international enjoyed a winning start to his Blues career as Pompey clinched a late 1-0 triumph over Barnsley.

Cotterill, on an initial month’s emergency loan from Swansea, caught the eye in a largely dull clash after an exhilarating opening 15 minutes.

In the end, Kanu climbed off the bench to net an 84th-minute winner from Greg Halford’s free-kick.

It capped a magnificent cameo from the striker, who changed the match after being introduced in the 70th minute in place of Joel Ward.

And Cotterill, who has spent just three days training with his new team-mates, led the plaudits for his new team-mate.

He said: ‘It was good timing bringing Kanu on because we needed to pass the ball a lot better and we did.

‘It looked like the game had 0-0 written all over it and was important we didn’t lose – then he came on.

‘You can see why he has been at the big clubs.

‘He’s got great feet and made the difference.

‘Kanu’s so laid back but you could see his quality on the pitch. It’s unbelievable.

‘Obviously he doesn’t get around the pitch as well as he used to because of his age but he brings that quality you need.

‘In training no-one gets the ball off him. You could see that on the pitch as well, they couldn’t live with him at times.

‘He’s unbelievable. He obviously had a lot more pace when he was younger but his feet remain the same.

‘He’s still got great feet. He holds the ball up so well.’

For Cotterill, it was a first appearance since he started for Swansea against Leicester on January 3.

Against Barnsley he was asked to operate on the left-hand side of midfield, allowing David Nugent to return to his favoured striking role.

It was an encouraging bow for the 23-year-old and he’s looking forward to many other opportunities to impress during the next month.

He added: ‘I’m here for a month initially and we’ll take it from there really.

‘It was just important for me to get a few games.

‘The squad’s not that big at Swansea, either, so Brendan Rodgers told me just to go for a month.

‘We’ll see how it goes depending on injuries and take it from there.

‘We’ve got a lot of quality players here and the team definitely shouldn’t be down at the bottom.

‘Hopefully we can get a few results under our belts to shoot us up the table.

‘The win at Doncaster and the win on Saturday is only going to give confidence, so hopefully we can keep stretching the unbeaten run.’