Midfield enemies become Pompey partners

James Dunne Picture: Colin Farmery
James Dunne Picture: Colin Farmery
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James Dunne believes he can forge a successful midfield partnership with an old enemy.

The new Blues recruit joined for an undisclosed fee from Stevenage last week and looks set to form a revamped central combination alongside fellow summer arrival Danny Hollands when the new League Two season gets under way.

While there will be fierce competition for midfield places, with Nigel Atangana, Johnny Ertl and Danny East among those battling for selection, Dunne and Hollands could prove to be an exciting combination.

And the 24-year-old knows the potential that particular partnership can bring, having faced some tough battles in recent years.

Dunne said: ‘I played against Danny Hollands when he was at Charlton and I was at Exeter.

‘I know he’s a very good player so it will be nice to have him on my team for a change.

‘Playing against Danny, I always thought he was a tough opponent to play against so it’s nice that I don’t have to play against him now.

‘We’ve probably kicked each other a few times but it was nothing personal.

‘We’ll just have to save that for training now instead.

‘If we can get that partnership to gel quickly, I’m sure it can work well.

‘There are plenty of other players who want to play in central midfield, though, so I’m certainly not taking anything for granted.

‘I need to earn my place. I can play in a few other positions but central midfield is probably the only position where I feel I am at my best.

‘I am maybe slightly more defensive but I can get forward and attack as well.’

While he is the new kid on the Fratton Park block, Dunne knows several of his new team-mates.

And he’s known one of them more than decade from his days as a ball boy.

‘I was at Wimbledon when I was a youngster,’ explained Dunne.

‘I was actually a ball boy when Patrick Agyemang was in the first team, although I don’t think he knew me at the time!

‘But then, after I’d left and gone on to Arsenal and Exeter, I was with him again at Stevenage.

‘It’s weird that we’re playing together again at Portsmouth.

‘I hope he doesn’t think I’m following him!

‘I think most people know that he has got a lot of ability and you can’t get the ball off him at times.’

It’s not just the much-travelled Pompey striker that Dunne has played alongside, either.

‘I know Paul Jones from my time at Exeter and I know he’s a quality goalkeeper,’ said the midfielder.

‘I’ve also played against a few of the others over the past few years as well.

‘I’ve played against Craig Westcarr a few times when he was at Notts County and Walsall.

‘But you can see there is plenty of quality here and a lot of experience.’