Devera: Favoured position bringing out the best in me

Pompey defender Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler
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Joe Devera believes Pompey fans are now seeing the best of him after being restored to his favoured position.

The 26-year-old centre-half has been a revelation over the past month in an improved Blues defence.

Such has been his transformation, after an indifferent start to his Pompey career, he was presented with the club’s player-of-the-month award for January before Saturday’s match against Torquay.

As voted for by the fans, it is recognition for a series of impressive displays in the heart of the back four.

Richie Barker’s side lost 1-0 to the Gulls, yet Devera once again emerged with credit.

Just 17 of his 30 Pompey appearances have come at centre-half, with the ex-Swindon man also asked to play at right-back or left-back this season.

And Devera believes he is now revelling in his preferred spot.

‘I feel like I’m doing okay and to receive that award from the fans is a compliment,’ he said.

‘The team is playing a bit better, which is obviously making me play better – that’s my view on it.

‘Most of all I’m playing centre-half now, which I wasn’t at the start of the season. I was moving everywhere across the back four and wasn’t really settled.

‘The club is definitely getting the best out of me in that position and you can see that change. I feel a lot more confident now playing there.

‘I’m willing to play and will put a shift in for the team, and if the manager asks me to play in a certain position I will play there and get on with it. But centre-back is my favourite position.

‘I definitely worry about my own form if I am playing out of position and not playing very well.

‘People don’t think of it as me playing out of position. I get judged on these performances in that role.

‘At Swindon, I didn’t chop around as much as I did at the start of this season here. I just filled in very so often at full-back before coming back to centre-half.

‘Now I’m playing there regularly and just want to carry on improving.’

So far, eight of Devera’s nine appearances under Barker have been at centre-back, with the Blues keeping four clean sheets in the process.

Pompey’s manager has also previously spoken of how he has worked with the defender on the training ground to rediscover his form. And Devera is grateful for some input.

He added: ‘We’ve been doing a lot of defensive work and a lot of individual stuff.

‘I was not necessarily doing it before, we weren’t doing too much, really. It has helped the defence and if the defence is playing well and I am in it, I will be playing well, too.

‘The gaffer has come in and we have spoken about a few things and done some individual defending and some group defending and it has helped.

‘I hope there is more to come from me.

‘There is more there.’