No more Mr Nice Guy for Erik

Erik Huseklepp celebrates his winner against Blackpool
Erik Huseklepp celebrates his winner against Blackpool

He has been described as one of the nicest men in football.

Now Erik Huseklepp is being tipped to establish himself as public enemy number one.

That’s the verdict of Liam Lawrence, who believes the Norwegian international is ready to crank up his Pompey performances.

And that can only mean opposition supporters’ hearts being broken on a more regular basis.

Huseklepp’s spectacular winner over Blackpool was his first goal in English football.

It also capped his most impressive Blues display to date.

Starting his fourth match, the 26-year-old cut an impressive figure down the left of midfield with his willingness to attack, combined with his delivery.

It has inevitably been a period of adjustment for the ex-Bari attacker.

Yet Lawrence is adamant Huseklepp is beginning to display the form his talents are capable of.

Steve Cotterill’s men take on Peterborough at Fratton Park tonight.

And Pompey’s skipper remains convinced Mr Nice Guy will be upsetting many more people before the season is out.

Lawrence said: ‘Erik is all smiles. He’s a great lad, once of the nicest lads I have met in football.

‘He’s brilliant, always willing to learn and played well on Saturday.

‘He was that little bit of quality that turned two teams trying to win into us winning.

‘I think he will be a good player for us. I just hope we can get him the ball as much as he needs it.

‘I spoke to Erik on Friday about settling in.

‘People are saying he’s not strong enough and doesn’t challenge enough, but he has been in Italy and Norway most of his career and it’s a totally different league.

‘The Championship is a fight most weeks for 60 minutes – and then the football comes out.

‘I said to him not to worry about it. I told him “you’re a good player and you will adapt” – and he will.

‘He was brilliant on Saturday, running all over.

‘He was on my side at one point running down the wing and he got what he deserved, which was a fantastic goal.

‘Once he starts getting in the right areas and the lads start finding him with the right balls, he will be good for us and get us some goals.

‘He’s got good delivery, can go left or right and has got pace.

‘For £1.5m, I think he will be a very good signing.’

Pompey can find themselves in the top 10 tonight should they pull off consecutive victories.

Many fans will certainly be expecting them to defeat Peterborough at Fratton Park.

For Lawrence, the fixture represents another opportunity to maintain his push to rediscover his best form.

There were definite signs on Saturday that the Blues captain is getting towards his goal.

Considering he had spent most of the week confined to his sick bed with a virus, it was a gutsy display.

And Lawrence is hoping for another decent display as Cotterill’s men attempt to make home advantage count.

He added: ‘We go into tonight now and another home game.

‘We seem to do well on Tuesday’s apart from Barnet.

‘Hopefully, we will get the three points.

‘Last week was a funny one for me. I was throwing up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I just couldn’t hold anything down – then I came back to training on Thursday.

‘I have worked on myself for the past three months trying to get myself stronger and I will get there.’