Eddie points defender the Long way south

Kevin Long has made a good impression since arriving at Pompey on loan from Burnley
Kevin Long has made a good impression since arriving at Pompey on loan from Burnley
Nicke Kabamba. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey loan watch – weekend report

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Eddie Howe would have been forgiven for telling Kevin Long to steer well clear of Pompey.

The Burnley boss – who was heavily linked with the Fratton Park hot seat before Michael Appleton was appointed last season – suffered an injury nightmare during his playing days with the Blues.

Signed by Harry Redknapp towards the end of the 2001-02 campaign from Bournemouth, Howe was injured on his debut.

He started the first game of the title-winning season the following campaign.

But after picking up a horrible knee injury in the opening 10 minutes against Nottingham Forest which ruled him out for more than a year, Howe eventually returned to Dean Court without ever playing another first-team game.

Still, Howe had nothing but good things to say about Pompey when young Turf Moor defender Long sought his advice about moving down south on loan.

The Clarets boss also told the 22-year-old Irishman he could have a job getting him back to Lancashire once he settles into life on the south coast.

Long explained: ‘There were quite a few clubs who wanted to take me on loan, to be honest, and they were all up north.

‘Preferably, I thought I would have liked to have stayed up north. At the time, I didn’t really want to leave Manchester because that’s where I know everyone and my friends are up there.

‘But as soon as Portsmouth came in for me I knew they are a massive club and I wanted to move down here.

‘I rang Eddie and he told me more about Portsmouth.

‘He told me it’s a great club with great fans and that I would love the place.

‘He also told me he might not be able to get me back once I’ve experienced it down here because I might like it that much!

‘But he just told me to enjoy the whole experience. I just took his advice and it’s been brilliant so far.

‘He’s a good manager and spoke very highly of the area, so I’m glad I took his advice.

‘There were other League One clubs that wanted me on loan and I spoke to a few managers. But I had no hesitation coming down here once I knew Portsmouth were interested.

‘I came for the chance of first-team football as it wasn’t looking like I would get that at Burnley.

‘I know I’m not guaranteed it here either but I have more chance of first-team football.’

The central defender has already impressed in his short time at Pompey – despite a red card in the recent defeat at Carlisle – and was outstanding in the 3-0 win at Crawley on Sunday.

But regardless of the club’s slow start to the League One campaign, Long believes he has seen plenty of reasons for optimism.

He said: ‘We’ve got one win now but it’s up to us to kick on from that and get ourselves up the table.

‘It has certainly helped confidence.

‘We won on penalties against Bournemouth and sometimes something like that can kick you on and we followed it up with a good three points at Crawley.

‘It will take a bit of time for us to be at full speed because it’s been quite hard to have a settled side with everything that’s gone on.

‘But it will only take a few weeks for us to get to know each other a bit better and for the manager to get his ideas across.

‘We’ve got some quality players here.’