New Pompey midfielder outlines ambition

James Dunne, left, starred for St Johnstone last season
James Dunne, left, starred for St Johnstone last season
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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James Dunne explained his decision to join Pompey and insisted: I want to play my part in taking them back where they belong.

The 24-year-old has penned a two-year deal at Fratton Park – with a further 12-month option – after Pompey paid an undisclosed five-figure sum to Stevenage.

There was plenty of interest in the highly-rated central midfielder, who started his career at Wimbledon before moving to Arsenal.

But after ending last season by winning the Scottish Cup while on loan at St Johnstone, Dunne is eager for more success.

He said: ‘Portsmouth is a massive club and I’m looking at it that we could be in the Championship in the next two or three seasons.

‘That’s the way we are thinking and now we want to make it happen.

‘If it goes well over the next season or so, you get some momentum.

‘The first priority is to get back into League One and then it’s about looking to push on again.

‘The manager wants to get this club moving again.

‘He explained we’ve got a new training ground coming and told me where he wants to be in three or four years.

‘I want the same thing and I can’t wait to get started.’

While Blues skipper Ben Chorley put in a good word about the club to his former team-mate after boss Andy Awford made an approach, Dunne had no hesitation in making the move.

He said: ‘I was at Stevenage with Ben Chorley and we used to share a car to training, which we will do again now.

‘He told me it was a good set of lads and the club was going places.

‘To be honest, he didn’t need to tell me about this club – I knew all about it.

‘I had a meeting with the gaffer a couple of weeks ago, which was really positive.

‘He told me the way he wants to go with the club and it was an easy decision.

‘The history and size of this club says it all and the fans they get here are a big attraction for any player.

‘Hopefully, we can take the club back up and get things going.’

After falling out of favour at Stevenage, Dunne admits he was tempted to stay in Scotland after landing a trophy north of the border.

He said: ‘My first season was okay at Stevenage but then the second season didn’t work out.

‘I didn’t see eye to eye with the manager and it got to a point where they had to pay Exeter another £25,000 if I played another game.

‘I went on loan to St Johnstone, which was really good and we ended up winning the Scottish Cup.

‘I could have stayed. It was a hard decision but I’m living in Bromley, so it’s a lot to pack up and move up there when you have a girlfriend and stuff like that.

‘I wanted to be nearer to home but when a club like Portsmouth is interested, it stands out.’