New recruit will be best in division

Joe Devera at Fratton Park after joining Pompey last month
Joe Devera at Fratton Park after joining Pompey last month
Leam Richardson. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey have been told they have signed the best central defender in League Two.

Ricky Holmes believes new Blues team-mate Joe Devera will show himself to be the stand-out player in the division in his position next season.

Holmes has no doubt his pal will prove his worth to Pompey, and shine as one of the league’s top talents in the new campaign.

The 26-year-old has the inside track on Devera, who joined the Blues after leaving Swindon last month, with the pair team-mates from their days together at Barnet.

Holmes, who arrived at Fratton Park himself last week after seeing his protracted move come to a fruitful conclusion, is excited by the impact Devera will have.

Holmes admitted he was surprised to see the 26-year-old defender take the decision to drop down a division after leaving the County Ground.

But he is confident that decision is good news for Pompey.

Holmes said: ‘I was speaking to Portsmouth before Joe was.

‘He rang me and told me he had signed, so I told him I was hopefully coming along as well.

‘I spoke to him last week, too, and told him it was a done deal.

‘It will be good to see him and he’ll be a great signing for us.

‘I was surprised to see him drop into League Two because he’s an established League One player.

‘He’s a very good player, no doubt about it.

‘Swindon had an option on him and decided not to take it. I guess that came down to money in the end.

‘It’s a great signing for Portsmouth – massive. He’ll be the best centre-half in League Two, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘He can play right-back or centre-half, but he’ll be a great asset.

‘Every time I’ve played against him or seen him he’s played well.

‘He’s hard to get around, a good defender.

‘He’s quick, strong and comfortable on the ball. All you need in a good centre-half.

‘I think he’ll be a key player next season.’

Holmes’ signing makes him the 14th man to agree to be part of Pompey’s bid to bounce out of League Two at the first attempt next season.

He is excited about what can be achieved with the squad being assembled by Steve Allen and Guy Whittingham.

Holmes said: ‘I know Tom Craddock. He chips in with goals.

‘Barts (Andy Barcham) is from the same area as me, where we grew up.

‘He’s always been at a higher level, but he excites the crowd and gets them going.

‘He can travel with the ball.

‘There are others who have been around the block a bit like Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly,

‘They are going to be big assets. Hopefully they are all going to do the business.’

HOLMES LOWDOWN n Page 46