Sodje tells Pompey fans: That's the real me

Sam Sodje savoured a resolute man-of-the-match display and promised: That's what I'm all about.

Sodje put his body on the line to help Pompey to a clean sheet and a 0-0 draw at Hartlepool last night.

The defender stuck his head on everything for his side to help repel a Pools side unbeaten in their previous three games.

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Hartlepool manager John Hughes saw his outfit rally against a Blues team on a nine-game losing run as they pushed for the decisive goal in the second half.

But Pompey stood firm, with Sodje a key man in that, as he returned to the starting XI after being left out at Bournemouth.

The 32-year-old did not get off to the best of starts for the Blues after an indifferent display in the 3-2 defeat against Colchester at Fratton Park earlier this month.

But Sodje was excellent at Victoria Park last night as he insisted that kind of no-nonsense display is what he is all about.

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The former Notts County man also expects to deliver more of the same as he builds momentum, having been without a club since the start of the season before arriving at Fratton Park last month.

Sodje said: ‘That was more like it.

‘I said the more I play, the better I will be.

‘I knew we would start picking up points if we keep going as well.

‘We have to give our best and then we will get our rewards.

‘If people knew me as a player they would know I win my headers.

‘That’s what I’m good at. I love heading the ball.

‘I just said to myself “the only way they are going to score is from set-pieces so I have to head every ball” – and that’s what I tried to do. It paid off.

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‘In the past three games we have started to play better at the back, but this clean sheet can really push us forward.

‘There is a good buzz in the dressing room and that is because we have put in good work to get a result.

‘Now the aim is to get a win on Saturday and have the fans help push us through.

‘We’re defending well but we need to build on that and show quality at both ends.’

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Sodje dismissed Hartlepool’s appeals for an injury-time penalty, with the hosts claiming for handball against him after they launched a late onslaught.

The former Nigeria international admitted the ball hit his arm as it was fizzed into the box among a mass of bodies.

But he felt referee Darren Bond made the right decision.

Sodje said: ‘It would have been harsh, very harsh.

‘We were defending right. It hit me but if it was given it would not have been a fair decision.

‘It was definitely ball to hand, so, for me, it is not a penalty.

‘If they had scored from that it would have been unfair.

‘But the only way they looked like scoring was from a set-piece – and that is not a bad thing for us.’