Nigeria international, John Utaka has received words of praise from his manager at Portsmouth, Steve Cotteril after his sparkling form in the league so far.
Utaka played well in the 3-1 win over Bristol City at Fratton Park and Cotteril told the club’s website that the Super Eagles attacker is turning into a new player.
Utaka opened the scoring with a sizzling 25-yarder past David James as the Blues recorded their first back-to-back league wins in nearly two years.
The Nigerian, used wide on the left this season, got a standing ovation from the Fratton faithful when substituted late on as Pompey moved out of the bottom three.
But Cotterill felt the applause was not just for Utaka’s goal.
He said: “The reception John got when he came off says everything. I asked him afterwards if he realised why he got it.
“It wasn’t for his goal, it was for his work-rate. The goal was just the icing on the cake.
“It’s pleasing for John because his form has been encouraging. He’s certainly got a lot fitter.
“It was a very, very good goal by John and we’re delighted for him. He’s doing a lot of the work people didn’t see him do before, and he’s playing with a smile on his face and enjoying it.”
Cotterill was delighted with the way Pompey hit back after Utaka’s goal was almost immediately cancelled out by Jon Stead.
Aaron Mokoena restored the Blues’ advantage before Hayden Mullins sealed the win in injury-time with his first Pompey goal.