Ertl: I haven’t given up on Pompey recall

Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Ertl has played once in Pompey’s last 12 matches
  • The 32-year-old is contracted until summer of 2016
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Forgotten man Johnny Ertl has vowed: I will never give up on my first-team ambition.

The 32-year-old finds himself well out of Andy Awford’s plans as the season drifts towards a disappointing conclusion.

I would love to get back in, I am fit, I feel good, I feel strong. I always knock on the door as best as I can, that is me

Johnny Ertl

With only four appearances in 2015, Ertl has also failed to make the match-day squad in four of the last five fixtures.

Despite a versatility which can see the Austrian serve at centre-half as well as in the centre of midfield, Awford has looked elsewhere in the absence of injured duo Jack Whatmough and Paul Robinson.

Instead Nyron Nosworthy has arrived on loan, while the out-of-favour Ben Chorley is also back in the first-team frame.

It leaves Ertl – who has a year left on his contract – watching from the stands but he is not throwing in the towel.

He said: ‘I would love to get back in.

‘I am fit, I feel good, I feel strong. I always knock on the door as best as I can, that is me.

‘There is no such thing for me to give up. Whoever knows me will tell you I always give 100 per cent and am here to also help the club moving onwards.

‘I have been here for quite a long time. I see the improvements even if we couldn’t quite make it (the play-offs) this season.

‘But it is an opinion-based game so I try to do my best, roll my sleeves up and give everything.

‘Hopefully I can get picked sooner rather than later.

‘Playing for the reserves is all you can do, dig in and work hard because that is what I can affect right now.

‘I can cover both in defence and in midfield, I love both jobs, doing the ugly side of the game.

‘That is my game to be fair – breaking things up.

‘I feel comfortable in both positions.

‘It is up to the manager. I am there to step in whenever I am needed.’

During his first-team absence, Ertl has continued to play for Paul Hardyman’s reserve team.

His most recent outing was the 5-2 defeat at Luton on Tuesday, when he featured at centre-half in a back four.

Ertl’s Pompey future remains uncertain, despite the length of his contract, but he is focusing on the present.

He added: ‘I don’t want to look too far beyond this season as there are still seven games.

‘After the season everybody has to assess their position.

‘A lot of players will make their own decisions.

‘I love it here, it is my club. I went through a lot of stuff and have tried to help the young boys as best as I can.

‘I like to help them, especially when they step up and especially with this club because there are high expectations when a young boy comes in, they have to cope with it.’