Paul Cook insists he had no intention of sending Brandon Haunstrup out on loan as the young left-back presses his claim for another first-team opportunity.
The 19-year-old made his senior Pompey debut in the Capital One Cup victory over Derby County back in August and was given the nod again for the defeat to Reading in the second round.
Brandon Haunstrup definitely needs to play in the first teamPaul Cook
The Waterlooville-born defender was then given another outing in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy loss at Exeter.
But he has not played since and is still waiting for his League Two bow, with Enda Stevens having played every league game so far.
There were suggestions that the pacy talent was lined up for a loan move away from Fratton Park before the closure of the emergency loan window last week – something Cook maintains was never on the cards.
And although the Blues boss is looking to give him some much-needed first-team experience, Cook believes he is too close to his starting line-up to allow him out.
Cook said: ‘Brandon Haunstrup definitely needs to play in the first team.
‘He is chomping at the bit and he has been very unlucky lately.
‘The reason we have had Matt Clarke on the bench ahead of him is that we could to a back three if we want to do that.
‘But Brandon deserves his chance. He has been training very well.
‘He has impressed us. I’m sure he will soon find an opportunity to be in the team.
‘With the amount of games coming up, I’m sure he will have an opportunity.
‘We weren’t looking to get him out on loan because you will find him in the team in a blink.
‘He is also one of those lads, I believe, who could stay in the team.’
In his three appearances, Haunstrup certainly looks like he has the potential to battle it out with Stevens for the left-back berth.
Cook added: ‘Brandon is a young man but he has grown physically, he has got a fantastic left foot and great energy.
‘He is one of those lads we really like at the club.’
Cook also denied he was attempting to shift any of his players out on loan before last week’s deadline.
‘I was under no pressure to get anyone out,’ he said.
‘We didn’t try and we didn’t have any enquiries.
‘When you are going into the Christmas period, there are games coming up and we must have a squad to handle it.’
– STEVE WILSON