Sullivan: Judge me after 20 Pompey games

Pompey goalkeeper John Sullivan Picture; Joe Pepler
Pompey goalkeeper John Sullivan Picture; Joe Pepler
Smoke bombs were let off during Pompey's match against Charlton today. Picture: Joe Pepler

Steward treated after smoke bombs let off following Pompey defeat

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John Sullivan believes his Pompey goalkeeping credentials should be judged after 20 appearances.

The summer recruit turned in his best Blues display yet on Saturday with a string of excellent stops in the 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood.

He was beaten only in freak circumstances, saving from Jamille Matt, before the ball ricocheted off Sonny Bradley, who was tracking back, and found its way into the net.

For Sullivan, the fixture represented his fifth successive Pompey appearance since dislodging Phil Smith – and his sixth overall.

Guy Whittingham has already spoken of how the former Charlton man’s performances have improved during his run in the team.

And Sullivan is convinced he needs more opportunities to show what he is capable of.

He said: ‘No matter what you say about a goalkeeper, it’s hard just coming in and coming out. It’s very hard to do that.

‘We are a breed, we are strange, strange characters, we like an arm round us, that’s just the way goalkeepers are.

‘We have our own goalkeepers’ union because we feel everyone is against us.

‘For me, judge keepers on 10, 15 or 20 games – that is what keepers need, they need a run in the team.

‘It’s hard to just judge a keeper on one or two games because it is a specialist position, and when you come in for that period of time it is mentally hard.

‘I feel the more games I play the better I will get and, hopefully, that will show on the pitch.

‘I am quite a confident lad anyway. You can never be over-confident but I have never doubted myself.

‘Obviously, there have been some comments. We hear things – some people want Phil to play or whatever.

‘All I can do is worry about myself, go on the pitch, do my best. I honestly believe I can be a good goalkeeper for this club.

‘Hopefully the fans can get behind me. At the end of the day it’s a team game and you take criticism on the chin as much as you take praise.

‘In this game you cannot get too high or get too low, there is not enough time for that.

‘You have just got to stay as level-headed as you can and I believe I can do that.’

Earlier in the season, Smith featured four times in a row, having replaced Sullivan after the opening match.

Despite their battle for the goalkeeping spot, though, the current number one has nothing but praise for his rival.

Sullivan added: ‘The relationship between the keepers is a real good one, a positive one, and I really want it on record that Phil has been exceptional since I have got in.

‘I know he wants to play and is training hard but he has been giving me great bits of advice because I am only 25 – that’s young for a keeper.

‘And with Alan Knight’s pedigree in the game, I am getting really good information each day in training.’