Forgotten three seeking to remain in Pompey frame

The forgotten three delivered a compelling reminder of their talents.

Monday, 1st January 2018, 9:00 am
Dion Donohue returned to the Pompey starting XI for Saturday's visit of Northampton
Dion Donohue returned to the Pompey starting XI for Saturday's visit of Northampton

Now Dion Donohue and his companions are seeking to retain their hard-earned first-team spots.

Pompey secured a 3-1 success over Northampton on Saturday – a result which lifts them into the League One play-off positions.

At the heart of that Fratton Park triumph was two-goal Oli Hawkins, man-of-the-match Matty Kennedy and, of course, Donohue.

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For Hawkins it was the first time in 10 league matches he had started in attack, while winger Kennedy was handed only his third start in 11 games.

As for Donohue, who slotted in at left-back, he had previously started just one of the Blues’ past 11 fixtures.

With Brandon Haunstrup injured, he announced his return by supplying the cross which Hawkins headed home for Pompey’s third goal.

The trio have been forced to wait for their opportunities – and Donohue is leading the charge for them to stay there.

‘Matty and Oli got the goals and I got an assist,’ he said.

‘I wouldn’t say we had a point to prove, but in a way we’ve got the chance now and all three of us are looking to cement our place again.

‘We are obviously delighted to get the three points – but delighted for the three of us as well to be involved in the goals.

‘It has been very frustrating for us, especially in the last five or six weeks, but the team are playing well so you can’t expect the manager to make changes when the team are winning.

‘You’ve just got to wait for your chance again and unfortunately for Brandon he picked up an injury which luckily for me gives me that chance now to replace him.

‘Whether centre midfield or left-back, I’m just happy to put on the top and play wherever I play, I don’t really care as long as I can put in a performance to help the team.

‘I’m happy with Saturday – and now it’s onto Bristol Rovers.’

The trio can certainly expect to retain their places at the Memorial Stadium following their impressive comebacks.

Injuries had already robbed Kenny Jackett of Stuart O’Keefe, Milan Lalkovic, Brandon Haunstrup and Jack Whatmough – now Danny Rose and Gareth Evans have joined them.

It is feared Rose could be out for the season after breaking his leg during a drop ball with John-Joe O’Toole.

Evans also failed to see out the first half against the Cobblers after damaging a hamstring.

Elsewhere in the team, others made the most of their chance, with Kennedy producing a right-foot finish to cancel out Chris Long’s opener.

Hawkins then sent in a towering header to steer Christian Burgess’ deep delivery into the far top corner of the net.

The last goal of the Fratton Park contest was a first-time cross from the left whipped in by Donohue.

He added: ‘The way the ball was sitting for me I just thought I’d put it into the box.

‘Pits and Oli were in there and are always a threat. Just as long as the delivery is right you have full faith – and luckily for me it was on the money.

‘I don’t think Northampton came out a lot and it was a slow start.

‘I wouldn’t say their goal woke us up, I think we knew then we had to really put in a performance to get something out of it.

‘We stepped up a gear and they couldn’t cope with how we played in that second half.

‘It could easily have been five or six, so we were pleased with the performance and it’s onto Bristol Rovers and another tough away game.’