Gallen: New-boy Cannon to serve in Thompson’s Portsmouth role

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Andy Cannon is earmarked to fill the gulf left by Ben Thompson’s impending departure.

The £150,000 recruit from Rochdale, who is cup-tied for Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Norwich, is not scheduled to train with his new club until Monday.

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The 23-year-old is also ineligible for the Checkatrade Trophy visit to Southend (January 8) – putting him in the frame for a debut against Blackpool (January 12).

That will coincide with the absence of Thompson, who is to be recalled by Millwall half-way through a scheduled season-long loan.

Yet Joe Gallen believes the versatile Cannon is equipped to step into the soon-to-be vacated role alongside Tom Naylor.

And while the newcomer can operate in attacking areas, it is as a holding midfielder where he is presently pencilled in to feature.

Pompey assistant boss Gallen said: ‘Andy will be here on Monday and looking to be involved in the Blackpool game.

‘We think he can play next to Tom (Naylor) as a number 4.

‘He is very aggressive, tackles, really wants to win and is mobile. There is a goal in him as well, especially from the number 8 position, so we think he has some flexibility to play as a defensive midfielder but also an attacking midfielder.

‘Overall, the thing we like about him is his attitude, aggression and he can tackle.

‘We think the fans will get right behind that type of hunger and attitude, while on the ball he is no slouch, technically very good.

‘He could easily replace Ben Thompson in that role – and we do feel we are slightly light in midfield with Ben Close injured.

‘Danny Rose needs to play some football, Adam May really needs to play regular football, so we are looking to strengthen in that area.

‘Still, with Andy’s attitude, his tackling and his aggression, the crowd will warm to him.’

Cannon has twice played against Pompey this season, on both occasions appearing off the bench.

In September he served as a half-time substitute in Dale’s 3-1 home defeat, Jamal Lowe, Brett Pitman and Matt Clarke the scorers.

Then he came on for the final 35 minutes of last month’s FA Cup clash, which saw Keith Hill’s side eliminated 1-0.

And Gallen admitted the long-time target caught the eye during those encounters.

He added: ‘It’s an under-the-radar signing again, which we do like, and we have hope he can get into the team.

‘In the league game (September) he came on at left-back, but Jamal Lowe unfortunately couldn't get past him so we were thinking “Wow, this from a central-midfield player”.

‘We all know how well Jamal has done for us, he has done brilliantly, most full-backs are torn to shreds, but even Jamal will say that day he (Andy) did pretty well.

‘We had seen him before and were kind of thinking it’s a good personality. Some players are forced out of position and don’t quite like it, but for him it wasn’t a problem.’