No gloom from Devera over the Wembley final that never was

New Pompey signing Joe Devera. Picture: Paul Jacobs
New Pompey signing Joe Devera. Picture: Paul Jacobs
Conor Chaplin celebrates a goal against Wigan earlier this season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Chaplin on the hunt for Pompey starts

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This weekend Joe Devera could have been at Wembley clinching a place in the Championship.

Instead, he finds himself spearheading a League Two club’s rebuilding programme.

Regrets? None at all, according to the ex-Swindon man relishing a new life at Pompey.

Regardless, it has been a remarkable fortnight for the 26-year-old whose career has taken a dramatic change of route.

At 1.30pm on Sunday, Brentford take on Yeovil in the League One play-off final.

It was 13 days ago when Devera and his Robins team-mates themselves locked horns with Brentford in the semi-final.

All square at 1-1 after the first leg, Griffin Park was to witness a thrilling game of football to settle matters.

Uwe Rosler’s side stormed into a 3-1 league after 47 minutes – before Devera pulled one back and Aden Flint netted a stoppage-time equaliser.

Left-back Nathan Byrne was sent off in extra-time, before the match switched to a penalty shoot-out.

Devera, who featured at right-back, netted the first penalty. But it was the Bees who emerged victorious after Swindon substitute Miles Storey missed.

In the fall out, within three days the defender, along with four of his team-mates, were released as the Wiltshire club slashed their playing budget in half.

Devera, though, insists he is delighted with how a painful spell in his career has ended with a move to Pompey.

He said: ‘My Swindon contract was up at the end of the season and they decided not to keep me on.

‘I didn’t know right up until I was told three days after the play-off game.

‘I had heard a few things and had some sort of idea.

‘So I suppose it wasn’t a complete shock.

‘In terms of the playing budget, it was more or less – if we went up, one thing would happen. If we didn’t go up, then something else would happen.

‘I wouldn’t take it as a negative, really. It wasn’t a negative for me.

‘It is a new challenge for me coming to Portsmouth and a massive positive coming here as well.

‘I’m really looking forward to it, this is my aim now. I really want to help this club succeed.’

Devera appeared 31 times for a Swindon side who shrugged off Paolo Di Canio’s exit to still make the play-offs.

Under new boss Kevin MacDonald, they finished sixth, then faced Brentford for a place in the final at Wembley.

The defender added: ‘It was a massive game, one penalty away from Wembley.

‘We came back from 3-1 down to 3-3, and when we scored in the last minute, it was expected then we should have gone on and won it.

‘Then we had a man sent off and then got taken to penalties.

‘I took the first penalty and scored as well. I wouldn’t even say I’m a penalty-taker, I just fancied myself in the shoot-out so thought I’d take responsibility.

‘I felt confident and could see a few of the other boys weren’t.

‘Only a couple of people said they wanted to take one, I was one of them.

‘Eventually we went out and it was such a disappointment. A game away from Wembley, that would have been amazing.

‘You move on, though, and now I’m looking forward to doing well with Portsmouth.’