Date: 20th March 2011 at 10:32am
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Another Pompey win, which included another cleansheet – making 8 in 9 games, was secured at Leicester yesterday.

Steve Cotterill toasted this win saying that everyone did the jobs that they had to do, and well.

‘Hard work and endeavour’ coupled with nullifying Leicester’s threats set this win up: ‘it was massive win full of hard work and endeavour. The individual jobs that our players did won us the game.

‘If you don’t deal with Leicester Andy King will run down the gut of you and end up scoring, Sol Bamba will head one in your net from a set play, Yakubu will score and Paul Gallagher’s delivery from free-kicks will cause problems. But our lads were absolutely buttoned down on all those things.

‘I just thought a long throw on top of their keeper might cause a little bit of havoc, so we used that tactic a little bit more than usual.

‘It was a great finish by David Nugent, who has flourished this season. I was glad the ball fell to him and not one of our defenders who might have been a bit rash and kicked it in the crowd!

‘I thought Dave Kitson was superb, too. We wouldn’t have won that game without him. He ran himself into the ground and is good in our box, which often gets overlooked.’

I cannot really comment too much on anything this week as I was not at The Walkers, nor was I able to follow the game at all – so I basically have to limit the reflection to what Cotterill says to be honest…

What I do know is this is a fantastic win going into the international break!

And this is something he also knew: ‘we’re really pleased to get this win going into the break, which we really need after a hectic run of games.

‘This little period lately has been fantastic around the club. We’re delighted with what we’ve done. This football club is quite strong, really.’

22pts from a possible 27pts available from the recent games is some return, with 2-weeks off now before the Reading game Cotterill thinks that we are right in the ‘shake-up’ for a play-off spot: ‘the play-offs are very much a possibility – we knew we needed to beat Leicester to be in the shake-up.

‘We’ve got eight games to go and need a lot of luck to go for us. This puts us in it to the wire. The points gap means you won’t see anything evolve or erupt for us in the next three or four games.

‘It puts us in it, but if we get a dodgy result or two, it puts us out of it. So we need that bit of luck to go with it, with everyone staying fit.’

That 8th cleansheet in 9 games is some record, the ‘secret’ behind this was not being released but Cotterill thinks it is down to plenty of ‘hard work’ among other things: ‘we’re not letting out the secret to what we’re doing right because if we do then it will go public and we’ll open ourselves up. If we can keep that secret, along with our dedication, professionalism and team-work, we’ll be absolutely delighted.’

The back 4 have to gel, and they have managed this, but I like to think that a lot of this is down to the experience and quality of Rocha John Rocha, in particular, and The Herminator.

These vastly experienced pros have given the others around them some extra guidance and leadership, not forgetting some genuine defensive quality!

So, we now go into the break – where the walking wounded can rest up – then come again for the final weeks of the season, what this will bring only time will tell…

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