Skipper wants to hit the back of the net

Going for goal: Johnny Ertl
Going for goal: Johnny Ertl

Johnny Ertl has targeted getting among the goals before the end of the season.

The Pompey captain is after a place on the scoresheet over the final seven games of the campaign.

Ertl has settled into a defensive-midfield role for the Blues as their form improves.

Goals aren’t a natural part of the Austrian’s game, as he focuses on doing the donkey work in the middle of the park.

But the 30-year-old has been showing greater intent going forward, going close with a piledriver at Crewe and creating the opportunity for David Connolly to score against Bury, when his 20-yarder was saved.

Ertl is hopeful of seeing the net bulge from one of his efforts before the season is out.

He said: ‘I’d definitely like to get on the scoresheet before the end of the season.

‘That would be one of my targets to achieve.

‘It doesn’t matter who scores but it would be a great thing to score for this club.’

Ertl also hailed his improving relationship with Therry Racon in midfield ahead of the Coventry meeting.

He believes they are improving all the time, with Pompey naming an unchanged side for the past five games.

Ertl said: ‘Therry’s a great lad and I like him.

‘He’s also a good player who brings experience to the dressing room.

‘Therry knows the league and he knows how to play. I enjoy the partnership with him.

‘The only problem is his music taste! But what can you do?

‘It seems we have a settled side. You see how things have developed because of that.

‘We went behind against the leaders but came back strong because we are settled.

‘The back four looks settled and the centre-halves are talking. We have a real strong core.’

Ertl feels the constant Pompey side has helped the development of the youngsters who have been blooded of late.

He said: ‘When I look at the youngsters’ development I’m really pleased.

‘Dan (Butler) has settled in at left-back and Jed (Wallace), with his energy, has done really well and is a good finisher. Then there is Liam (Walker) with his quality and free-kick he scored at Scunny.

‘It’s a huge learning process for them but this is a good time for them to play.’