Soaring Bird dreams of hat-trick of successes

Ryan Bird scores his second goal against Exeter. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Bird scores his second goal against Exeter. Picture: Joe Pepler

A future which could contain a Wembley final, promotion to the Football League and a new Pompey deal come May.

The reality is none are guaranteed for Ryan Bird. Yet he dares to fantasise following a dream start to life on loan at Cambridge United.

The 26-year-old ventured to the Abbey Stadium last month in search of regular first-team football, having slipped out of the Pompey frame under Richie Barker.

After only two starts under the new Blues boss and without a goal since November 2, Bird craved an opportunity for game time.

That was provided by the U’s – high-flying in the Skrill Premier and also the loan home to Pompey keeper John Sullivan.

An initial two-month stay began with two Bird goals in the opening 17 minutes of his debut at Dartford, although a dead leg forced him off at half-time.

He then won the penalty on Saturday at Eastleigh – his second appearance – which booked Richard Money’s men a place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, where they will face Grimsby.

An instant impact for the former Burnham striker whose Blues contract is up for renewal in the summer with a 12-month option.

Bird said: ‘I don’t want to come from playing league football and get forgotten about. I want to score a goals in the league and non-league.

‘Ideally, I want to stay at Portsmouth, but you never know. If you are not in the manager’s plans now that could well be the case for the rest of the season.

‘Different managers know what they want. When a new one comes in he has to find the players he wants to take the team forward, it’s how it works.

‘I asked Richie about going on loan a couple of times and he said it was up to me. I didn’t want to go at first but when I wasn’t in the squad against Mansfield I spoke to him again and Cambridge came in for me so I thought I’d go.

‘John Sullivan is here as well. I spoke to him beforehand and he told me there is a good spirit around the place and great team morale.

‘There’s a one-year option at Pompey this summer, but if I am to have any chance I need to get game time and score goals.

‘It’s a level below the Football League and two leagues above Burnham but is a decent standard and hopefully Pompey are keeping tabs on me. I’ve had a dream start to be fair!’

Cambridge are currently three points behind leaders Luton in the race for an automatic promotion spot.

And Bird is loving his time with the former Football League club.

He added: ‘I’ve made a great start and my confidence is up.

‘In the first minute against Dartford I scored but the keeper took me out in the process. The second was definitely one of my best goals with an instinctive finish.

‘My leg seized up at half-time when I sat down in the changing room so I had to come off, which ended any chances of a hat-trick.

‘Then I played at Eastleigh in the FA Trophy and won a penalty when the keeper took me out. We scored it and now have to beat Grimsby to go to Wembley.

‘It’s been really good so far and hopefully that can continue.’

n Pompey are mourning the death of former inside-forward and third division title-winner Keith Blackburn (37 appearances – 1960-64), who passed away yesterday.