Pompey defender: Checkatrade Trophy perfect for me

Pompey youngster Brandon Haunstrup Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey youngster Brandon Haunstrup Picture: Joe Pepler
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He was twice a triumphant member of Pompey’s reserves wins against Reading’s kids last season.

Now that fixture will tonight take to the Fratton Park stage in the form of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Every game is important, it’s representing Pompey which makes it special, irrespective of what the crowd may be

Brandon Haunstrup

But for Brandon Haunstrup, the game represents the ‘perfect’ opportunity for more match minutes on his comeback trail.

The 19-year-old will line up at left-back in what will be a much-changed Paul Cook side against the Royals’ under-23 side (7.45pm).

It represents a third Blues game since recovering from a dislocated shoulder sustained against Bournemouth in pre-season.

Tonight will also be the lowest attendance in Fratton’s post-war history – beating the 2,318 against Bristol City in August 1993.

Not that Haunstrup is concerning himself about potential crowd sizes and the fact only one stand will be open.

The Waterlooville youngster will savour the occasion as another chance to represent Pompey.

He said: ‘I played in the reserves against Reading a couple of times last season and we beat them on both occasions.

‘It’s not going to be a big crowd, obviously. You see on social media that the fans aren’t too pleased with the competition.

‘But the chance to play at Fratton Park is not something for a player to turn down.

‘It’s a game and that is what I need, especially with my injuries. It’s perfect for me, ideal.

‘It’s an opportunity to play on a bigger stage than the reserves, with more people there, even if it will feel weird seeing Fratton Park that empty.

‘The most important thing for me is playing games, getting out there, getting minutes under my belt – it’s what I need, especially coming back from injury.

‘Every game is important, it’s representing Pompey, which makes it special, irrespective of what the crowd may be.

‘Now I’m back I just want to take every opportunity I get.

‘And I’m looking forward to walking out at Fratton Park again.’

Haunstrup made five first-team appearances last term, including starting against Reading in the Capital One Cup at Fratton.

He also featured predominantly in this summer’s friendlies – only to put himself out for two months.

He added: ‘I came on for 12 minutes against Bournemouth and in the last minute Josh King shouldered me.

‘I landed on it, twisted and it came out of place. It was horrible.

‘That was the first time it had happened. The main thing is you don’t want it to reoccur, so the longer you stay out the better chance of it not happening again.

‘It won’t need an operation now. Whereas if I had come back too early the chances were a lot bigger of it popping back out.

‘My aim was to have a really strong season, giving the gaffer something to think about, but the injury stopped me.

‘Now I’m back, just trying to return into the swing of things and get up and running.’