East puts neck on the line for the cause

Danny East in the thick of the action Picture; Joe Pepler
Danny East in the thick of the action Picture; Joe Pepler
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Danny East insisted Pompey proved their desire was there after epitomising the determination to turn things around at Fratton Park.

The defender was back in the side for the game against Dagenham & Redbridge at right-back, just three weeks after being told he had fractured his neck in a nasty fall against Wycombe.

While those initial fears were thankfully unfounded, East has still had to battle back from the injury and was in no mood to let it stop his all-action defending as the Blues kept a rare clean sheet for the Daggers’ visit.

‘I was in hospital, they told me it was fractured and I was going straight for an operation,’ explained East.

‘You are thinking “what am I going to do? Will I have to give up playing football?”

‘It’s funny because I was screaming at them to get off me and that I wanted to get back out there and play when it first happened.

‘But once the adrenalin wore off, I was in quite a bit of pain.

‘I’ve still been feeling it all week but I was doing a heading test and I passed it in training the day before the game.

‘So it was great to be back in the team again and to get the win.

‘Before the game, I took some painkillers but I didn’t feel it when I was playing.

‘I was so up for it and the adrenalin was kicking in, so I was buzzing.

‘But I don’t think it affected me. I wanted to head everything that came my way.

‘I was happy to put my neck on the line!’

While the former Hull man showed his desire to get Pompey back to winning ways, he also felt the team showed the same commitment following the manager’s critical comments after the defeat to Bristol Rovers.

‘We wanted to step it up and I think the desire from everyone was top notch,’ said East.

‘Everyone wanted to show that we do want to play for Portsmouth and we will stand up and fight for that.

‘There has been a lot going on at the club and maybe that pressure has played a part.

‘It’s an amazing club and an amazing fan base but the pressure of the manager getting sacked and everything else going on meant we had to step up and bring it to the table.

‘I think we did that in this game. It feels like the first step but we can’t get carried away by one win.

‘It’s been an up-and-down season so far. We’ve had some good wins and then the next game has not been so good so we need to carry this on now.

‘But I think it will have done our confidence the world of good, playing how we did in that first half especially and then digging in to get the win.’

And while the defender conceded it was not a free-flowing performance in the second half, it showed they were prepared to fight for the cause.

He said: ‘It was just about digging in and making sure we got the win because we really needed it.

‘We could have gone out and won 2-0 or 3-0 if we’d had a different frame of mind in the second half.

‘But a 1-0 win seems so professional. We dug in, it wasn’t easy but we got the three points.

‘We didn’t play the way we wanted to in the second half and it wasn’t very pretty.

‘But we got the job done and that’s the important thing.

‘In the first half we showed our quality and in the second half we showed our character.’