Cook eager for Haunstrup to get loan opportunity

Brandon Haunstrup. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brandon Haunstrup. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke has found himself back in familiar surroundings in the centre of defence in recent weeks  Picture: Joe Pepler

Back home – but Pompey defender would switch back

  • Haunstrup made his Pompey debut against Derby in the Capital One Cup
  • Former Crookhorn College pupil has come through the Blues’ Academy
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Brandon Haunstrup has been earmarked for a loan spell away from Fratton Park to maintain his promising development.

Yet Paul Cook has no intention of letting the left-back leave just yet.

Brandon hasn’t played senior football long enough yet so getting him out on loan soon is massive because if we can get do that he is then ready to come into our team and play

Paul Cook

The 18-year-old, from Waterlooville, made his first-team debut in the 2-1 Capital One Cup triumph over Derby County last week.

It was another encouraging step for the youngster in his first year as a professional as he continues to impress Cook.

Haunstrup is seen as a genuine understudy to Enda Stevens, while Pompey’s boss also regards him as ahead of fellow Academy youngsters Chad Field and Snorre Nilsen in their development.

Next up is a loan spell to bolster his match fitness – although not just yet.

Cook said: ‘I believe being match fit is huge and the only way you can be match fit is playing.

‘If you look at Brandon Haunstrup at the minute, he has played two senior games for us (Gillingham friendly and Derby) and come off with cramp for both – and he will be one of the fittest boys we have got.

‘What I am trying to say is there is nothing like match fitness.

‘Brandon hasn’t played senior football long enough yet so getting him out on loan soon is massive because if we can get do that he is then ready to come into our team and play. As you can see, he is a fantastic deputy at the moment for Enda.

‘The 28-day loan thing is poor because if I let him go out to play I cannot bring him back for 28 days, which leaves us short so at the minute I have got to manage that.

‘Brandon has a fantastic chance to be a good footballer but has got to learn the game, he has got to get the minutes, he has got to play men’s football.

‘Sometimes it doesn’t bother me the level that they play, I just want them to be able to play on a Saturday.

‘But we’re not looking to let any of our lads go out on loan at the minute. With the Capital One Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy we have a lot of games and are keeping those lads happy at the minute.’

Haunstrup featured in six pre-season friendlies and was also an unused substitute for the visit to Bognor.

The former Crookhorn College pupil is seen by Cook as an out-and-out left-back, with the ability to attack.

For Pompey it is another one off the production line, following the likes of Conor Chaplin, Ben Close and Jack Whatmough in recent years.

He added: ‘I would say he is ahead of the other two (Field and Nilsen) at the minute because he has broken in, with the other lads there are probably players in their positions at the minute who are ahead of them.

‘They are young lads, they just have to keep working hard at the game.

‘In the Gillingham friendly he was excellent, I thought against Derby he was also excellent.

‘He shows a fantastic attitude around the club and is a young lad who has a really good chance.’