Michael Appleton feels new signing Kelvin Etuhu is ready to make the most of his second chance in football.
The versatile 23-year-old yesterday penned a deal with Pompey until the end of the season, with an option for another year.
And he is expected to go straight into the side for tomorrow’s Championship clash at Cardiff City – a club he spent a spell on loan at in the 2009-10 season and helped to the play-off final.
The former Manchester City man wants to get a promising career back on track after he was sentenced to eight months in prison in March 2011 for assault, actual bodily harm and affray after an incident outside a casino in Manchester in February 2010.
And Appleton insists Etuhu, who Pompey were able to sign after Hermann Hreidarsson left for Coventry on Monday, is eager to make up for lost time after being handed a lifeline back into football.
The Pompey boss said: ‘He will bring a lot. He’s very versatile and he’s got a second chance. We’re delighted to get him on board until the end of the season.
‘What has happened to him has been well documented but I know he’s desperate to get going. He’s like a wounded animal at the minute and he’s desperate to get out there and show people that there is still a future for Kelvin Etuhu.
‘He’s absolutely desperate to be successful now because of what’s gone on.’
The deal has been in the offing since Appleton arrived at the club back in November, although the Blues boss kept it under wraps to avoid losing a player who can fill a variety of positions, primarily across midfield but also full-back and up front.
Appleton explained: ‘A lot of people won’t know because we’ve kept it very quiet but he has been training with us for two months.
‘He has been very impressive and we’ve had to keep it quiet because we knew there were other people who wanted to nick him off us.
‘I wanted to sign him after about a week of him being here. But there were a few issues with his contract in Greece (former club Kavala).
‘As all this was going on, we couldn’t sign him anyway because of the situation we were in. But he’s a fantastic character. You can only judge people on how you find them.
‘He is very humble, very polite and the fact he has been coming in off his own back, training for two months and not being paid a penny says everything about the lad.’
Appleton added: ‘He’s fit, he knows how we want to play and if he needs to go in straight away tomorrow, he would have no issues.’