Fighter Davies aims to prove Pompey worth

Tom Davies is a scrapper '“ and that admirable fighting spirit has earned him another Pompey opportunity.

Wednesday, 2nd August 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:01 pm
Tom Davies. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Paul Cook had earmarked the central defender for a summer exit, just 12 months after recruiting him from Accrington Stanley.

Non-league Tranmere were among the suitors for a player who made only 15 appearances last term.

Yet Cook’s departure for Wigan and the arrival of Kenny Jackett has presented Davies with the prized chance to turn around his Fratton Park career.

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Tom Davies found it tough on the sidelines last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Now the man destined for the exit door is poised to line up against Rochdale in Saturday’s League One opener.

The 25-year-old just never knows when he’s beaten.

He said: ‘I know I am better than what I showed last year and it’s up to me to prove that this season, hopefully getting people onside and kicking on my career.

‘There were various reasons why I wasn’t at my best but the person I have to look at most is myself, I cannot blame anyone else.

Tom Davies found it tough on the sidelines last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I’m a fighter, I work 100 per cent in training every day, I would never leave anything on the training pitch.

‘That’s a quality I’ve got and the manager seems to like that at the moment but the crunch will be Saturday games and impressing on the pitch.

‘It’s a tough league we’re entering but I’ve got a bit of belief back in myself and the manager has given me a bit more confidence, which I didn’t have last year.

‘I had a couple of brief conversations with Paul Cook at the end of the year – but that went out of the window when the new manager arrived. I thought “I have a chance here”.

‘There were a couple of things with other clubs but, no disrespect, I would be leaving behind something good.

‘I spoke to the gaffer (Jackett) a couple of times over the summer and he said he wanted me back down.

‘Obviously you don’t want to leave a club like Portsmouth so it was something I wanted to come back and fight for.

‘You are not going to go to a bigger team in League One or League Two.

‘I have a great opportunity and thought I would stay here and try to impress.

‘I wouldn’t want to be hasty and try to leave here without showing what I can do.

‘And I think I have come back a bit better and a bit stronger to hopefully impress the new manager.’

Following Matt Clarke’s groin injury against the Hawks, Davies has been chosen as Christian Burgess’ central-defensive partner.

In the process, he scrambled ahead of Jack Whatmough during the pre-season fixture list.

Now the pair are battling it out to face Rochdale.

Davies added: ‘It was strange for me not playing because the season before I was featuring every week.

‘My confidence took a hit and that is something I didn’t deal with well enough. But you learn from these things.

‘Now I have that opportunity, it’s in my grasp now, so if I lose that there is no-one to look at but myself.

‘I am excited for the season to show everyone what I can do. I feel I didn’t do it last year – this year could be big for me.’