Defender hails ‘perfect’ Pompey return

Brandon Haunstrup in action against Oldham
Brandon Haunstrup in action against Oldham
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For Brandon Haunstrup, it represented a ‘perfect’ Pompey return.

A maiden start in 2018, an away triumph and, of course, that ever-elusive clean sheet.

The whole back four was solid, won pretty much everything and we didn’t give them a sniff

Brandon Haunstrup

It had been mid-December for the visit of Bury when the Blues previously achieved a shut-out – a frustrating spell stretching 15 matches.

Haunstrup was part of that side which collected a 1-0 Fratton Park win, yet two games later was sidelined with a twisted knee and tendonitis.

During a subsequent starting XI absence approaching three months, Kenny Jackett’s team failed to register a single clean sheet.

Then arrived the Waterlooville youngster’s recall – and a welcome 2-0 victory at Oldham.

Haunstrup said: ‘That was perfect. That’s what I want to do, come back into the team and perform like that.

‘To get that type of win is great, especially away from home at a time when we needed it most. Hopefully this will kick-start something good now.

‘It was very pleasing for me to get back out there and come through with no problems, so now I’m looking to remain in the side.

‘We kept them down to only a couple of half-chances, with one of those a good tip over from Luke (McGee) following our throw-in.

‘We were 2-0 up and it’s always at the back of your mind they are going to come on to you, they’re chasing the game.

‘They did come on to us, but we defended really well and did what we needed to do to stop them, you could see the togetherness to get through it.

‘The whole back four was solid, won pretty much everything and we didn’t give them a sniff.

‘I suppose the main thing was in the first half we came away having killed the game with two goals.

‘Whereas against Gillingham we went in at half-time at 1-0 up, having not taken our chances, so it was a different game.

‘It doesn’t matter who you are, you fancy your chances getting back if there is one goal in it.’

Haunstrup’s spell on the sidelines through injury amounted to one-and-a-half months, ruling him out of nine matches.

While his best run of form in a Pompey shirt was aborted, Dion Donohue instead slotted in to produce his own impressive displays in the left-back role.

Meanwhile, Sylvain Deslandes was recruited on loan until the season’s end to provide more full-back competition.

Yet following a cameo off the bench against Gillingham, Haunstrup was handed a start in the snow-hit Boundary Park clash – his first since Boxing Day.

In doing so, he occupied a back four consisting of a quartet of 21-year-old’s – among them youth-team colleague Jack Whatmough.

Haunstrup added: ‘I’m pleased for Jack after a substantial amount of time out, he did really well.

‘He was in the year above me in the youth team, but we would still play together and you could tell from growing up with him that he had something there.

‘We earned a clean sheet and victory on Saturday – and will be looking to take that into Oxford.’