Gloves are off but Andersen is backing his Pompey deputy

Simon Eastwood is beaten by Wycombe's Bruno Andrade in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Reid (123299-801)
Simon Eastwood is beaten by Wycombe's Bruno Andrade in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Reid (123299-801)

Mikkel Andersen believes the Pompey keeper’s berth is in safe hands as Simon Eastwood prepares to step in between the sticks.

Eastwood is in line to start against Notts County in the FA Cup tomorrow, with Andersen ruled out of the clash against the Magpies.

The Danish stopper will be left in the stands at Fratton Park as part of the terms of his loan move from Reading.

West Brom loanee Scott Allan will join him, while the same fate is expected for Carl Dickinson, who is also on a temporary stay at the club from Championship side Watford.

Andersen has delivered a solid presence in his 15 appearances for Michael Appleton’s side this season.

That has restricted Eastwood to just two outings in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and Capital One Cup for the side he joined in the summer, after playing at Halifax last season.

But his opportunity has arrived again, and Andersen has backed the keeper to deliver the goods.

The 23-year-old admitted his frustration at not being involved in the game.

However, he feels the man he works with day in, day out will show his worth as Pompey start on the FA Cup trail.

Andersen said: ‘It’s a blow not to play. I’ve played a lot of games and wanted to keep that going.

‘But then again it’s a chance for Simon to play a game and do well. I’m right behind him.

‘He’s a top player who has done well since I’ve been here, so I wish him all the best.

‘I won’t be playing, so I will get behind Eastie on Saturday and hope he does well.

‘Our goalkeeping coach John Keeley has been excellent with me and Eastie.

‘We work hard and it’s a credit to him for getting a good union going.

‘I’m working well with him and Eastie and enjoying it. He has come on a lot and is a good keeper.

‘I’m actually looking forward to seeing him play because he’s doing really well in training.

‘It’s about who’s playing and the focus goes on to them. Eastie has been great with me and I owe it to him to support him all the way.’

Pompey’s string of positive results in League One has stalled in the face of two defeats on the bounce.

Five unbeaten fixtures preceded those two losses – against Stevenage and Sheffield United – as the Blues’ season found some momentum.

Andersen believes people are now starting to take notice of the performances being produced by Pompey, rather than focusing on off-field matters.

He said: ‘We are taking steps forward all the time. We are putting in good performances.

‘I think it’s sticking and there’s a lot to look forward to.

‘It’s a credit to all the work going on that there’s a bit less focus on stuff off the pitch now.

‘If we keep working at what we are good at and what we believe in we’ll move forward.

‘If we stay focused then it will come and we will progress.

‘People are not talking just about us being in financial turmoil and crisis, they are talking about the players we’ve got and how we’re doing on the pitch.

‘That’s credit to the players, managers and staff and we have to stick with it.’