Brandon Haunstrup: My tough task to dislodge superb Pompey rival
The apprentice is maturing '“ now he wants more footballing opportunities.
But Brandon Haunstrup is under no illusion over the size of the task to dislodge the ‘superb’ Enda Stevens.
The Cowplain kid made five appearances last term, including a Football League full debut in the final league fixture against Northampton Town.
Yet he has to contend with Stevens at left-back.
No player featured more for the Blues than the Irishman last term as he scooped the players’ player-of-the-year accolade.
He also demonstrated his attacking credentials, with 10 assists in all competitions.
Clearly a daunting ask for Haunstrup to muscle his way into Paul Cook’s starting XI – and doesn’t the 19-year-old realise it!
He said: ‘Enda is in front of me and a superb player who is also very consistent.
‘Coming through the ranks, I’ve never really had competition, now I am trying to break in in front of Enda, so it’s a good challenge.
‘When I have not been in the squad I have watched from the stands and you can really learn from someone as good as him.
‘Enda’s delivery is very good, his crosses are very consistent, in terms of his runs he knows when to go and when to stay, his all-round game is excellent.
‘You can get into those attacking areas as many times as you want but it is about producing that final ball when it matters.
‘Some people do it in the 90th minute, it is all about composure, which he has, and he has shown he can create goals from left-back.
‘I’m looking for more appearances, to get more game time under my belt and try to break through a bit more. I need games.
‘But I also have to be patient and remember I am still learning.
‘Full-back is one of the hardest positions on the pitch, especially fitness-wise, as you are required to get up and down your flank. The gaffer loves full-backs going forward.
‘I am an attacking player so that has always been in my nature, I love going forward.
‘Last season when the ball was on the other side with Ben Davies crossing it, the gaffer wanted the other full-back at the back just in case the ball came over, so it is perfect for me really.
‘I’ve just got to keep trying to do my best to get into the side.’
Haunstrup has the distinction of four of his first five Pompey outings coming in different competitions.
There was the Capital One Cup, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, the FA Cup and League Two.
And the teenager wouldn’t be against heading out on loan for more experience.
He added: ‘Last season was five appearances plus the reserves and sometimes I missed playing regularly.
‘I remember Gary Neville saying some lads are aged older than 22 and barely have an appearance to their name.
‘That’s what the modern game is, but it is about being patient as well.
‘I would definitely consider going out on loan, especially if that is going to help my performance. But my first target is to break into this team.’