Ryan Bird eager to show Pompey he has upped his game

Former Pompey striker Ryan Bird
Former Pompey striker Ryan Bird
  • Bird netted three goals in 25 appearances for Pompey
  • Since leaving in September 2014 he has totalled 12 goals from spells at Cambridge United, Hartlepool and Yeovil

Ryan Bird eyed a Fratton Park reunion and insisted: I’m now a better player.

The 27-year-old returns to his former club tomorrow as a Yeovil player – and in fine goalscoring form.

Pompey v Yeovil: Head-to-head stats

Pompey v Yeovil: Head-to-head stats

Bird has netted four times in 10 league matches this season, despite Paul Sturrock’s injury-hit side struggling in League Two.

It was Pompey who plucked him from non-league football in the summer of 2013 – the striker going on to net three times in 25 appearances.

After leaving in September 2014, he has gone on to play for Cambridge United, Hartlepool and, from this summer, the Glovers.

Now Bird will be back at the home of the Blues tomorrow – and he’s relishing the chance to show his game has improved.

I’ve been trying to improve on different things in my game, such as holding the ball up, and I believe I’ve come on with some parts of my game

Ryan Bird

He said: ‘I’ve mixed emotions about coming back, but I’m looking forward to it.

‘I know I am going to get stick from the fans, but hopefully not too much. I loved scoring those two goals against Exeter in front of the Fratton end.

‘Obviously, I want us to win but Pompey are flying at the moment so the crowd are going to be absolutely up for it and the place rocking like it used to be.

‘It will be the first time I’ll have been in the away changing room at Fratton Park as well.

‘I’m definitely a better player than when I left there a year ago.

‘I had come from non-league and made only eight starts. But since leaving I have played a lot more, earning experience and adjusting to this level.

‘I’ve been trying to improve on different things in my game, such as holding the ball up, and I believe I’ve come on with some parts of my game.

‘At Cambridge they already had five strikers when I signed, but when I did play I scored, then I went on loan to Hartlepool and did well there.

‘I’m happy with my form at Yeovil now and just want to play 35-40 games in a season and see how many goals I can actually get in a team.

‘I’m confident I can score if given the opportunities and am definitely a better player since leaving Pompey.’

Another familiar face returning with Bird will be Wes Fogden, who was not offered a new deal by manager Paul Cook in the summer.

The midfielder made his comeback against Accrington this week after being sidelined by broken fingers, summing up Yeovil’s early-season problems.

Bird added: ‘Personally, I have done alright but we are struggling at the moment with about 10 players injured, so we’ve had a tough start.

‘It is improving but at one point we had around three players on the bench, so it has been difficult.

‘I have played centre midfield three times, we have shuffled around and done what we can to fill into positions.

‘It has been a lot better recently, we actually filled the bench the other day!’