Striker eager to build on scoring return

Dave Kitson got back to goalscoring ways at Doncaster
Dave Kitson got back to goalscoring ways at Doncaster
Pompey were crowned league champions on this day in 1949. Picture: Pompey History Society

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Dave Kitson insists he needs to use his Doncaster strike to kick-start his season.

The Blues striker netted his sixth goal of the campaign with a brave close-range header in Saturday’s 2-0 win to end a six-match goalless run dating back more than two months.

While Kitson comes across as an intelligent and self-assured character, his performances this term have clearly been affected by some extended periods without scoring.

And he believes that confidence is a vital factor in his game.

Kitson said: ‘I needed that goal. I’ve not had a great year so far to be honest, but I suppose we haven’t as a team.

‘We need everyone playing at their maximum and it’s difficult to put your finger on why it hasn’t been happening for us – myself included.

‘As a striker, if you don’t score for a few games, then the confidence is affected and it’s a big contributory factor.

‘It’s huge – it’s probably about 50 per cent of it.

‘When players are scoring, they are banging in goals for fun and they don’t even know how they are doing it – they just do it and it becomes second nature.

‘So now I need to get into that run and I need to do it as quickly as possible.’

The former Stoke forward went eight games without a goal between his strike against Watford in October and his effort against Norwich in December.

But while he has not complained at a lack of service, he has hardly been served a constant supply of gilt-edged chances.

He has also had to adapt to a new system, playing as a lone striker.

Kitson said: ‘We’re still adapting because we’ve lost John Utaka and we’re playing Wardy (Joel Ward) and Liam (Lawrence) in there along with Hayden (Mullins).

‘It’s a new system and it’s probably working better for us away than it is at home at the moment.

‘We have got some good players but we need a squad and there’s no secret about that. We need more players but there’s nothing we can do about that at the moment.

‘We know what we need and we can’t do anything about it. So we’ve got to dig in, get the results and ensure that this team is in the Championship next season.’

Kitson is now hopeful Pompey can replicate their Doncaster away performance when they return to Fratton Park for their next two games against Barnsley and Crystal Palace.

He said: ‘We were strong, we were physical and, away from home, that’s what you need.

‘First and foremost, you need hard work being the away team and we had plenty of that. Now we need to keep doing it.’

Kitson also reserved special praise for the Blues fans.

‘Our fans were absolutely unbelievable at Doncaster,’ he added. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest.

‘They were singing from start to finish and that really helps – especially when you come away from home. It’s a massive plus and everyone appreciates it.’