DION DONOHUE has revealed how he initially found life ‘tough’ at Fratton Park.
But, following a period of self-reflection on the sidelines, the left-back has transformed his Pompey career to emerge as a central performer.
I had a couple of weeks to really assess where I could improve and where it was going wrongDion Donohue
Donohue arrived on the south coast from Chesterfield in August for an undisclosed fee, yet struggled to make an instant impact.
With Kenny Jackett earmarking the versatile player for a regular left-back role, it was a period of adjustment hampered by a subsequent back problem.
However, since the turn of the year, the 24-year-old has established himself as one of Pompey’s most consistent players, with a string of impressive showings.
The birth of Donohue’s son, Mason, kept him out of the side which triumphed 2-1 over Wigan on Monday night.
Nonetheless, it represented another high for the in-form player who has superbly turned around his Fratton fortunes.
Donohue said: ‘I have found my feet here now, gelled with the squad, and my personal performances have improved over the last few months.
‘I had no doubt that would happen, I always back myself to come good.
‘It was a tough couple of months at first for me, obviously making the change coming from Chesterfield.
‘It’s a big adjustment coming into a new team, a new atmosphere, the pressure that’s on you.
‘You’ve gone from playing in front of 5,000 to 6,000 fans to 18,000 and it takes a bit of time to be able to cope with that pressure and perform under that pressure.
‘But now I have flipped it on its head and use that as a positive, so hopefully I can carry on with my performances.
‘At Pompey all eyes are on you, they want you to win, you have to go out in front of 18,000 week in, week out and perform, which is quite challenging to be honest. As a professional, though, that is what you have to do.
‘It’s about mental strength. If you are having a bad opening 15 minutes of a game you have to be mentally strong to come through that and flip it.
‘Coming off the back of a couple of good games, your confidence grows. When you know you’ve had a good game the week before you look forward to the next rather than dreading it after a bad performance.
‘My performances have improved over the last couple of months and hopefully I can carry on.’
Donohue has gone on to make 30 appearances as he settles into life on the south coast.
He added: ‘I think the turning point was when the gaffer pulled me out of the team.
‘I had a couple of weeks to really assess where I could improve and where it was going wrong.
‘I needed to pick myself up – and you have to be mentally tough in this game.
‘When I got the chance to play again I took it and thankfully have managed to stay in.
‘As disappointing as it was to get pulled out in the first place, I think it did me a lot of good to come out and assess where I was going wrong and turn it around.’