Etuhu told he will be key man

Kelvin Etuhu celebrates his goal against Birmingham. Picture: Steve Reid (121000-207)

Kelvin Etuhu celebrates his goal against Birmingham. Picture: Steve Reid (121000-207)

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Michael Appleton tipped Kelvin Etuhu to play a major role in Pompey’s bid to stay in the Championship.

But the attacking talent has been told he needs to utilise his forward-thinking instincts to strike fear into rival defences.

Etuhu made a scoring return to action against Birmingham on Tuesday night after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The 23-year-old delivered an impressive 17-minute display from the bench, capped with an impressive strike in the 4-1 win.

That means the former Manchester City ace is now pushing hard for a start at Coventry today.

Appleton believes Etuhu has a big part to play for his side over the final nine games of the campaign.

And the Blues manager reckons he can also be a key figure in the club’s future.

The Pompey boss wants to see him engage sides and take responsibility as he looks to develop his game.

Appleton believes that is the key to getting the best from him.

He said: ‘Kelvin knows the situation where I’m coming from.

‘If he plays to his strengths and sticks to them – and he knows what I mean when I say that – he’s going to play a big part for Portsmouth Football Club from now to the end of the season. And, more importantly, beyond.

‘He’s pushing for a starting place at the minute but he is obviously someone who can come on and impact a game.

‘That’s what he did on Tuesday night. As you get longer into the game it stretches.

‘So I thought that suited him.

‘If Kelvin sticks to what he’s good at – in terms of being direct and getting at people, looking at getting crosses and shots in instead of just passing responsibility on and trying to look a good player – he will be a real talent for us.’