JAMIE ASHDOWN has paid tribute to the massive part Shaka Hislop has played in his success this season – even though the newcomer knocked him from his number-one perch.
Pompey's new first-choice goalkeeper admitted: 'It's like he's been out there in goal with me at times.'
The 24-year-old said Hislop had been hugely supportive of his progress – on the training pitch and just as a colleague.
It comes as Pompey decide whether to give a new contract to Hislop, who was first choice for two-and-a-half seasons before Ashdown got his chance last November.
He has not played for the first team since last January, and three Championship clubs are said to want him.
Ashdown's praise for Hislop came as he told of his hopes of keeping his spot at the start of next season.
He said: 'My own aim is to stay as first choice and then still be first choice when we come back for pre-season.
'It would be amazing when you think I came here only last summer. I didn't really expect to play any games and I really came in only because of Shaka's injury in November.
'Shaka's been great and it feels like he's been in goal with me a lot of the time. He's been so supportive, which not all goalkeepers in his position would have been.
'Some might sulk and not support the person who'd displaced them.
'He's given me advice but it's not just that – it's that he's been a normal person around me and has not been making it awkward.
'It's been difficult for him because he's only really lost his place majorly once in his career, when Shay Given came in at Newcastle.
'But with me coming in as an unproven goalkeeper, he's been great.'