KENNY JACKETT paints Brandon Haunstrup as a work in progress.
Nonetheless, Pompey’s boss can pinpoint progress from the Cowplain youngster during his first-team opportunities.
Brandon is quite a level lad as well, he’s a good lad, he’s hard working, he has a good mentality to be a footballer, which you do needKenny Jackett
Haunstrup started his fourth consecutive League One match for the Blues when Rotherham visited Fratton Park.
Asked to operate as a left wing-back, the televised encounter was another important step in the ongoing education of the 20-year-old.
The departure of Enda Stevens and subsequently season-curtailing injury to Tareiq Holmes-Dennis have provided the home-grown product with prized first-team experience.
Damien McCrory’s deadline-day arrival has now ramped up the left-back competition.
Yet Jackett has been pleased with Haunstrup’s development.
He said: ‘Brandon has developed and is a work in progress, there is no doubt about that.
‘He’s had a little run and been put into the team because of the injury to Tareiq, but has responded well, has a good character and works very, very hard.
‘He will continue to improve.
‘Brandon is quite a level lad as well, he’s a good lad, he’s hard working, he has a good mentality to be a footballer, which you do need. You need a tough mentality.
‘I am sure the chance he has is one he’s wanted and he is relishing it and working as hard as he can to get everything out of it and not to let everybody down, establishing himself as Portsmouth’s left-back.
‘He has responded well since the Cardiff game (Carabao Cup), although against Wigan, Gavin Massey got the wrong side of him a couple of times and set up a couple of chances.
‘However, he came through that and, as the game wore on, got more into it, which is a credit to him.
‘Ultimately Brandon then got forward and put a very good cross in for Conor’s equaliser.’
Haunstrup has now made 11 appearances for the Blues since handed an August 2015 debut against Derby in the Capital One Cup.
This summer he penned a new 12-month deal in his continued push for first-team action.
Necessity has ensured he has played in five of Pompey’s opening seven fixtures during Kenny Jackett’s maiden campaign.
McCrory’s loan presence means Haunstrup is looking over his shoulder ahead of Saturday’s trip to AFC Wimbledon.
And Pompey’s boss is adamant that environment can aid the youngster.
He added: ‘He needs to get better with each game, that is the aim.
‘Just being there isn’t enough, Brandon has to continually improve, use the games, use the staff, use myself as the manager to learn, and then keep making strides in the right direction.
‘He has definitely improved. Players like Brandon are why you have an Academy, that is why young players come through.
‘There is now extra competition around him (Damien McCrory) so he must make sure he fights as hard as he possibly can to keep the Portsmouth shirt.’