Lynchpin still looking for new faces

Joe Devera predicted one of the toughest seasons of his career and warned: We still need strengthening.

Wednesday, 31st July 2013, 12:16 pm
Joe Devera. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s new defensive lynchpin feels the squad must be added to as the countdown to the new season gathers pace.

Guy Whittingham has missed out on top target Ricardo Rocha as he looks to bolster competition at the back alongside the 26-year-old.

Devera was an influence in Simon Ferry arriving at Fratton Park as the Blues pulled off a coup to land his former Swindon team-mate.

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Ryan Bird has also been recruited from non-league football to bolster Pompey’s attacking options.

Devera has weighed up the quality of his new team-mates and been impressed with the talent at Whittingham’s disposal.

But he still believes the 19 senior men the Pompey manager can call on is not enough for a long League Two campaign.

Devera is under no illusions about the toughness of the season which lies ahead for his new team

He said: ‘We’ve got good players here, even if some of the players are quite young.

‘We’ve definitely got good players, but, as a squad, we definitely need strengthening still.

‘It’s going to be a tough, long season. A long, hard season – one of the toughest the boys have faced.

‘If we want to go up it will certainly be one of the toughest of my career so far.

‘We need to be solid and strong this season.

‘It’s a tougher league than people expect.

‘It’s not nice going to these places, but it doesn’t mean the opposition have a bad team.

‘So we are going to have to be professional in how we go about our work.’

Devera has found himself wearing the captain’s armband at times during pre-season when the usual array of changes took place in games.

The Londoner promises he has no problems with stepping up as leader in his new side at the age of 26.

Devera will be aiming to break the 300-game mark for his career at Pompey this season, emphasising he has plenty of experience.

And he is more than happy to utilise that nous and pass it on to his team-mates in the months ahead.

Devera said: ‘It feels weird to say I’m an older player because I still feel quite young.

‘But I feel quite old here – it’s quite a young squad.

‘Being a leader comes naturally.

‘I’ve played quite a few games now. I’ve played around 270 games.

‘Barnet was a good experience as I was there for five years.

‘It was my first club and they were my team from 19 years old.

‘And I enjoyed my time at Swindon but I’m excited at being here now.

‘There’s still a lot of settling in to do, but I am happy.

‘If I can help the younger players I’ll be happy to do that.’