Determined youngster aiming to retain Pompey spot

Brandon Haunstrup delivers a cross against Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brandon Haunstrup delivers a cross against Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Brandon Haunstrup clung to Pompey’s first-team shirt and vowed: I won’t relinquish my left-back spot.

The Waterlooville youngster is determined to retain his place following an impressive comeback against Plymouth Argyle.

The more games you play, the more confident you get. It comes naturally to any player, especially a young player, and you fit in better

Brandon Haunstrup

Back in a League One starting line-up after 15 matches away, Haunstrup produced arguably his best Blues display to date to shackle danger man Graham Carey.

The 21-year-old’s contribution afterwards drew praise from both Kenny Jackett and team-mate Kal Naismith following the 1-0 Fratton Park triumph.

Left-back has proven a problematic position for Pompey this season, albeit largely through injury, with six different players employed in the role.

But Haunstrup is banking on his eye-catching weekend display convincing the Blues boss to retain him for the next league outing at Charlton on December 9.

He said: ‘Hopefully it gives the gaffer a problem. That’s the main thing, just putting the problem into his head.

‘I want to retain the position at left-back and believe I can play there regularly.

‘Obviously, I’m going to be biased with it coming out of my own mouth, but I want to play as many games as I can.

‘At the start of the season I had a few games which got me going and I need to maintain that and keep showing the manager what I can do.

‘I was a bit nervous at the start coming into the team, but I’m working my way through that and now have a lot more confidence.

‘The more games you play, the more confident you get. It comes naturally to any player, especially a young player, and you fit in better.

‘Every game which comes my way is an opportunity to give the gaffer a problem – and hopefully I’m still in the team next time.’

This term represents Haunstrup’s breakthrough season, having previously made six appearances in two years.

So far this campaign he has yielded nine outings, with five starts coming in League One.

Injuries to Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Damien McCrory have opened the left-back door for the home-grown product.

Yet he’s also had to contend with Dion Donohue and Matt Clarke, while Academy ace Joe Hancott featured against Fulham under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Haunstrup had been dropped after FA Cup defeat at Luton – but he’s been working hard during the period out of Jackett’s side.

He added: ‘Luton was quite frustrating on a personal level, but I just had to get my head down and train as hard as I could, as well as I could.

‘If I had got down about it then I wouldn’t have been in the right mindset to return at the weekend.

‘The manager has told me my attitude has been good since coming out of the team after Luton.

‘You are always hoping for another chance and thankfully he gave me that.

‘All I can do is train hard and give him a problem.’