‘They’re standing for you, kid’: How Leicester City’s George Hirst has turned it around at Portsmouth as ex-Sheffied Wednesday and Rotherham man’s stock continues to rise

Danny Cowley paid tribute to George Hirst’s level of commitment to Pompey’s cause as Fratton stood to acclaim his turnaround this season.

By Jordan Cross
Sunday, 6th March 2022, 7:39 am

Hirst’s stock at PO4 continues to rise after a two-goal salvo against Accrington Stanley in his side’s 4-0 success.

The Leicester City loanee set Danny Cowley’s men on their way with the opener before adding the Blues’ third, to take his total to three in a week and eight for the season.

All of those goals have come since November, as Hirst’s season accelerated after a slow start.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

It was another hard-running display from the striker who set the tone for his side once again with his industry and endeavour.

Cowley was in awe of Hirst’s effort, as he was afforded a standing ovation from his side’s fans as he was withdrawn for Tyler Walker with his side four goals up and 17 minutes remaining.

The Pompey boss acknowledged he was aware the 23-year-old would’ve been keen to stay on to complete his hat-trick, but a busy fixture schedule was firmly on his mind.

But that paved the way for a moment which showed how far Hirst has come in his loan spell this season.

Pompey players celebrate with George Hirst after netting his second in Saturday's 4-0 triumph over Accrington. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

Cowley said: ‘I said to him as he came off, “they’re standing for you, kid - they’re standing for you”.

‘The ovation he got was so well deserved.

‘What I liked about him was he played Tuesday, and he backed it up. Good players back it up.

‘I thought he showed a humility and real desire. He’s been a really important part of this run.

‘I said to him I knew he’d want to stay on, but we need him Tuesday. He needs to keep going.

‘Once we got to that place, it was the right thing to do.

‘You kind of want to keep him on the pitch and score, but there’s a bigger picture.

‘He runs so hard - he was like two players for you, just brilliant.’

Hirst wasn’t the only person to earn credit from Cowley for his performance on another afternoon of Pompey positives.

O’Brien again put in another hard-running display with Pompey down to 10 men for 69 minutes after Marcus Harness’ red card.

That was epitomised by an outstanding contribution to his side’s fourth goal which saw the former Sunderland man run three quarters of the pitch and beat two men, before teeing up Ryan Tunnicliffe for his side’s finish.

The Fratton Park crowd sung of their desire for Cowley to sign O’Brien up for the long term - a sentiment he was in firm agreement with.

Cowley added: ‘Aiden’s been great. That goal epitomises him, really.

‘He’s got energy, an infectious personality and such enthusiasm.

‘What a run, wow, then a great pass and a super finish from Tunni.

‘There’s a connection there, I can feel that.

‘When the supporters were singing sign him up, I was singing it with them!’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for less than 25p per week.