A moment years in the making for Pompey keeper

Liam O'Brien is looking forward to his long-awaited competitive debut. Picture: Joe Pepler
Liam O'Brien is looking forward to his long-awaited competitive debut. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jamal Lowe started at right wing-back against Rotherham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey man’s versatility keeping him in first-team frame

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It’s a moment which has been eight years in the making.

Tonight at Yeovil Town, Liam O’Brien will pull on the goalkeeper’s jersey for Pompey.

Liam O'Brien during a friendly outing against the Hawks in his first stint at Pompey. Picture: Steve Reid

Liam O'Brien during a friendly outing against the Hawks in his first stint at Pompey. Picture: Steve Reid

His senior competitive bow is something the 24-year-old has been dreaming of since signing for the Blues in 2008.

O’Brien departed Fratton Park in 2011 but has seen his career come full circle with a return earlier this month.

Now he will get his chance at Huish Park in the Checkatrade Trophy southern group A fixture.

It may be a much-maligned competition which has created headlines for the wrong reasons but try telling O’Brien the game doesn’t have its merits.

The former Pompey Academy talent is excited about the prospect of going between the sticks with the star and crescent on his chest.

O’Brien said: ‘I never had the chance to stay before. I would have if it was my choice.

‘But I’m grateful to be back now. I just want to show everyone what I can do.

‘It’ll be brilliant to play. I’ve never had the chance to play a first-team game for Portsmouth before. It’s going to be a proud moment.

‘It’s a professional game of football. I am going to have my name on the back of the shirt and a Portsmouth badge on the front.

‘I don’t care what is being said about this competition.

‘It’s 90 minutes of football and I’m here to play games. It’s something I’m really looking forward to.

‘I know now you want to get as many games as you can because you never know when your last one is going to arrive.’

O’Brien completed his Pompey comeback on a short-term deal, signing for an initial month with Amine Linganzi.

The London-born talent is keen to remain when that agreement comes to a close and is hopeful he can provide back-up to David Forde for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: ‘What happens happens but I hope I’ve done enough to stay.

‘We’ll wait and see but I know I’ve given everything while I’m here.’

O’Brien’s two stints at Pompey have been punctuated by stays with Barnet, Brentford and Dagenham & Redbridge.

He found himself looking for a new club, however, in the summer with the likes of Leyton Orient, Eastleigh and Nuneaton Borough keen on securing his services.

O’Brien decided to remain patient, however, and that was a policy which paid off.

He said: ‘I was trialling at clubs and offered a few contracts.

‘But sometimes you get offered something and it just doesn’t feel right.

‘So I said to my agent I wanted to hold out for a little bit longer and see what comes.

‘That’s when Portsmouth got in touch with me. I could’ve easily gone somewhere else.

‘I went to Orient and they said they liked me and I went to Eastleigh.

‘I also played for Nuneaton who offered me a contract.

‘I wanted to stay in the league so it feels like fate Portsmouth came in for me.’