Midfielder thanks Blues for reviving career

Toumani Diagouraga in action against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler
Toumani Diagouraga in action against Fleetwood Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin in action against Northampton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s Checkatrade kick-off time rescheduled

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TOUMANI DIAGOURAGA has thanked Pompey for resurrecting his career.

The midfielder believes his stay at Fratton Park has put to bed a frustrating period for him after being left in the cold at Brentford.

Diagouraga yesterday extended his loan stay with the Blues until the end of the season, after he played the final game of his original spell at Fleetwood on Saturday.

The 26-year-old has impressed for Richie Barker’s side in six appearances.

That culminated in him being handed the captain’s armband at Highbury Stadium at the weekend.

Diagouraga’s spell with Pompey has provided his first league starts since the end of November.

He fell out of favour with Brentford, after Mark Warburton replaced Uwe Rosler as manager.

But Barker has placed him at the heart of his Blues plans after making him his number-one loan priority.

That appreciation, along with the support of the Fratton faithful, has rejuvenated Diagouraga’s fortunes.

‘Since I’ve been at the club I’ve been made to feel welcome,’ said Diagouraga.

‘The players, the fans and the staff have all been great to me.

‘The fans have been really good to me, and they get behind the team and travel away in numbers.

‘I’ve felt settled here and I feel happy. It’s good to be wanted and I’m enjoying that.

‘I was playing before but I’ve been out of it at Brentford since the new manager came in.

‘That’s what happens in football.

‘You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I suppose.

‘It’s nice to have a manager who believes in you and I now want to repay that faith in me.

‘Every one time I put on the shirt for Portsmouth I will give 110 per cent.’

Despite other clubs being interested in securing his services, Diagouraga had no hesitation in swapping a League One promotion bid for a scrap at the foot of League Two with Pompey.

Brentford currently sit in the automatic promotion spots in the English game’s third tier, as they aim to avoid the pain of missing out on going up in last season’s play-offs.

Diagouraga admitted he would have liked to have seen through that job at Griffin Park.

But he prefers to be at the heart of Barker’s Pompey plans than on the fringes elsewhere.

‘It would have been nice to help get Brentford promoted,’ added Diagouraga.

‘But at the end of the day you need to be playing football.

‘If this is going to be where I can play football, this is where I want to be.

‘My duty is to give my best for this club every time I step over that white line.’

A run of four games without a win now has Pompey looking nervously over their shoulders again with nine games to go.

But Diagouraga remains confident his side have enough in their locker to secure League Two safety – if the fans stick behind their team.

He said: ‘I’m sure we will be okay. There’s definitely enough quality here. If the supporters stay with us I am sure everything will be okay.’