Pompey’s Rochdale lad still has part to play

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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There may not be a dream Spotland start for Connor Ronan.

But Kenny Jackett insists the Rochdale lad still has a part to play during Pompey’s promotion push.

Connor Ronan. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

Connor Ronan. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

The Blues face the struggling Dale tomorrow, seeking a fifth-consecutive victory to their boost play-off aspirations.

For Ronan, it will be a return to his home town – and the club he continues to support.

The 20-year-old started life on Rochdale’s books as an apprentice before earning a switch to Wolves.

Yet it has been a loan spell at Pompey which has presented him with more regular first-team involvement.

Connor has done very well and we have just got slightly older in recent weeks and it has helped us, there is no doubt about that

Kenny Jackett

Ronan, who has so far made 13 Blues appearances, is expected to retain a place on the bench tomorrow.

However, Jackett continues to be impressed by his talents.

He said: ‘For Connor this is a first loan, he’s a very good player who has a terrific future.

‘He certainly will be looking forward to the game, going back up there to Rochdale, doing well himself but also the team doing well.

‘Connor has done very well, but Gareth Evans coming back has helped us in terms of power and experience and we have needed that.

‘That has just edged Connor out, but before Gareth came back into the side I was very, very pleased with him.

‘There is definitely still first-team opportunities for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to use him, he’s a good player.

‘Connor has done very well and we have just got slightly older in recent weeks and it has helped us, there is no doubt about that.

‘With the likes of Evans coming back, Brett Pitman, Stuart O’Keefe on the bench and Nathan Thompson after suspension, it has generally given us a little bit of an edge and there is a blend of youth and experience now which we have needed.

‘Still, Connor is going back to Rochdale and I am sure he will enjoy it.’