O’Keefe: Constant companion will shine at Pompey

Pompey winger Matty Kennedy Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey winger Matty Kennedy Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey fans enjoyed a 2-1 win on their last visit to the Memorial Stadium. Picture: Joe Pepler

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They arrived at Cardiff in the same January transfer window and then departed on the same day.

Certainly, Stuart O’Keefe is familiar with the talents of constant companion Matty Kennedy.

Stuart O'Keefe arrived on loan at Pompey on the same day as Cardiff team-mate Matty Kennedy

Stuart O'Keefe arrived on loan at Pompey on the same day as Cardiff team-mate Matty Kennedy

It was on deadline day when the pair landed at Fratton Park in separate loan agreements from the Bluebirds during the pursuit for regular first-team football.

A reassuringly familiar face for both as they bid to settle into their south coast surroundings under Kenny Jackett.

Unquestionably, it hasn’t taken either long to make an impact, even if team results have been mixed.

O’Keefe is establishing himself as a midfield enforcer, while Kennedy’s wing trickery earned him a goal and the man-of-the-match accolade at Northampton on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately he hasn’t had the chance he possibly deserves at Cardiff, but they are second in the table and their wingers Junior Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing are on form

Stuart O’Keefe

In fairness, the impressive ongoing contributions of Kennedy have generated most talk among the Fratton faithful during their three-game presence.

And O’Keefe is well aware of what his colleague since January 2015 is capable of.

He said: ‘Matty is direct, he gets the ball and knows what to do with it.

‘He’s tricky, he can beat people, he’s quick and hopefully we can get in the box receive some good balls from him. I think he can offer this team a lot.

‘Matty came in with me at Cardiff under Russell Slade in the same transfer window but has been in and out, he’s not had his opportunity for whatever reason.

‘That’s football. Fair play to him, he could have sat on the bench but went out and wanted to play football at Plymouth last year and got promoted.

‘Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the chance he possibly deserves at Cardiff, but they are second in the table and their wingers Junior Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing are on form so it’s hard to get in.

‘Neil Warnock’s not really going to change that, so I think it’s right for him to come out for matches and I think he can offer us a lot.

‘It’s funny, both of us also came here on deadline day, which makes it a bit easier.

‘It’s nice to bring someone into the club you know and can talk to. It can be difficult sometimes not knowing anyone – and he is a good addition to the squad, a good player and a good guy.’

Kennedy spent the second half of last season on loan at Plymouth, scoring five goals in 17 appearances as they won promotion from League Two.

However, despite impressing, he remains out of the first-team frame at Cardiff with a contract that expires this summer.

In the meantime, Warnock has allowed the 22-year-old to spend the campaign at Fratton Park – ample opportunity for him to potentially clinch a future elsewhere.

Clearly O’Keefe holds the Scot in high regard and believes as the team gels then his Blues team-mates will flourish at the end of his deliveries.

The midfielder added: ‘As players get to know each other they will learn about Matty’s style and where the ball is going to be, especially as a front man.

‘Matty can beat people and once team-mates understand when and where the ball is going to go, then there will be a lot more goals.’