Bradbury: Pompey target is League One quality

Hawks midfielder Nigel Atangana Picture: Joe Pepler
Hawks midfielder Nigel Atangana Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Pic: Joe Pepler

Baker and team selection to fore as Pompey fans have say

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Lee Bradbury has told Pompey they will possess a player of League One calibre if they can complete a deal for Nigel Atangana.

The Hawks’ highly-regarded midfielder is currently in talks with Andy Awford over a switch to Fratton Park.

It represents a prized opportunity for the Frenchman to progress from Conference South into the Football League.

It’s a jump boss Bradbury – who has managed Bournemouth in League One – believes Atangana can comfortably complete.

In the meantime, Pompey must negotiate the signing of a player under contract for another 12 months – with the Hawks wanting a transfer fee.

That in itself is a complex issue as the Blues are presently focusing on paying off legacy debts rather than spending money on signings.

Regardless, Bradbury will not stand in the way of the 25-year-old who has attracted interest from several other League Two clubs in the past week.

He said: ‘I have given Nigel permission to speak to Pompey to see if they can agree a deal.

‘There has always been an understanding that if a bigger club came in we would not stand in his way and he deserves his chance.

‘Inevitably, there was going to be interest in him this summer and over the last couple of weeks there have been three League Two clubs who have picked up the phone to me, including Pompey.

‘I am comfortable in saying Nigel can play week in, week out in League Two, if not League One.

‘I have managed players not as good as him in League One, so that is another level he can play at.

‘He is energetic, ball-winning, very fit, gets around the pitch, drives forward, likes a tackle and can ghost past players.

‘He has scored some great goals, particularly from distance, and does tick a lot of boxes in terms of what you want from a central midfielder.

‘Nigel’s stature and the leggy way he runs is very (Patrick) Vieira-ish. A lot of people have said he also reminds them of Yaya Toure.

‘What he definitely is, though, is a great lad, with a fantastic attitude and we will have talks with Pompey after personal terms have been agreed.’

Bearing in mind the close relationship between the neighbouring clubs, the Hawks favour a move to Pompey for Atangana.

In addition, he is settled in the area, currently sharing a house in Cosham with a Westleigh Park team-mate.

And Bradbury has admitted he expects to lose Atangana during this close season.

‘With a club like ours we are always going to have people coming after our players,’ he said.

‘Part of my job is to develop players before they move on. The likes of Ollie Palmer, Chris Arthur and Sahr Kabba have all gone on to other clubs.’