Pompey unsure over Pearce presence

England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce
England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce
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Blues boss Steve Cotterill conceded he is in the dark over the reason behind Stuart Pearce’s Fratton Park visit on Saturday.

The England under-21 boss was in the stands watching as the Blues secured a 1-0 success over Barnsley.

It prompted suggestions he was there to watch the in-form Joel Ward.

Also in the frame could have been the Tykes’ Jacob Mellis.

The midfielder has scored two goals in four games since joining Barnsley on loan from Chelsea last month.

He has also featured for England under-16s, 18s and 19s.

Regardless, Cotterill couldn’t shed any light on Pearce’s focus.

‘I didn’t hear anything,’ said the Blues boss.

‘Joel is probably already getting recognition because he is being picked on a regular basis by myself.

‘He’s just signed a new contract here, which is obviously recognition.

‘I don’t know who Stuart was watching on Saturday.

‘I didn’t see him. Sometimes I see him but I didn’t this time.’

Ward has played 32 games this season, scoring three goals.

Against Barnsley, he started in the centre of midfield before moving to the right to replace the injured Liam Lawrence.

However, the decision to replace him with Kanu in the 70th minute yielded the match-winner.