Donohue backed to be Pompey attacking asset

Kenny Jackett has backed Dion Donohue to be an attacking threat for Pompey.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 6:00 am
Dion Donohue. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues boss has been impressed by the Welshman’s recent progress – and has not ruled out utilising him in his favoured central midfield role.

After a stint out of the side, Donohue has started Pompey’s past four games at left-back in the absence of the injured Brandon Haunstrup.

The summer signing from Chesterfield has impressed on the left-hand side of defence and has kept Wolves loanee Sylvain Deslandes on the sidelines.

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Jackett saluted the strides Donohue has made – admitting he passed backwards and square too much earlier in the campaign.

The Pompey boss believes the 24-year-old is capable of delivering assists and goals.

‘He’s played well at left-back and has made good strides,’ said Jackett.

‘First and foremost, I’m looking for him to defend.

‘But there’s some assists for him – the (Oli) Hawkins header against Northampton at the far post for the third goal is an example.

‘If he – on a regular basis – can pass constructively, forward, join in with attacks and put some good balls through for our forwards to attack then he can be an asset from left-back.

‘In his run in the team before his back injury, he played backwards and square too much.

‘He was passing inside and backwards to players who haven’t got the range of passing he has got.

‘The skill he possesses, where he can feint, come inside and start driving forward opens things up for us.

‘It’s all about getting the confidence in him to be able to do that.

‘You have to eradicate situations like at Blackburn where he turns inside, played it to Bradley Dack and we went 1-0 down – although we understand they happen at times.

‘With more time and experience, he has to knock them things out of his game.

‘Instead of going backwards, he needs to be beating people and using his left foot as an asset.

‘He’s got a good attitude and has been working on far-post heading, general positioning playing at left-back and, most importantly, selection and service going forward.’

Although Donohue has functioned in a left-back role since his Fratton Park arrival, he regards his best position in central midfield.

With Danny Rose suffering a season-ending broken leg and Stuart O’Keefe sidelined, Jackett would be open to moving the former Everton youth player into the engine room if needed.

The Pompey boss added: ‘He hasn’t had much chance so far. One injury might have pushed him in there in the Checkatrade Trophy but it is an option for us.

‘At the moment, he’s in the driving seat at left-back but I wouldn’t hesitate to move him into midfield as well.

‘Whether it’s at left-back or midfield, there are goals and assists in him.’