The Insider: Pompey triallist is a combative midfielder and leader

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Eric Nicholson, sports editor of Scottish title The Courier, gives the lowdown on Pompey triallist Paul Paton...

You’d describe Paul Paton as a holding, tackling central midfielder rather than a creative and attacking one.

Former St Johnstone midfielder Paul Paton

Former St Johnstone midfielder Paul Paton

He used to be more of a box-to-box midfielder, but he’s nearer to the back end of his career now and likes a tackle.

He will put his foot in – that’s for sure – and he has good positional sense.

It was a bit of a surprise he had his contract cut short at St Johnstone in January.

Paton had played in the Scottish FA Cup against Albion Rovers just a couple of days before.

He left because manager Tommy Wright decided Paton wasn’t going to get a new contract next year.

Matty Willock had been brought in on loan from Manchester United and Wright thought he was well covered in the engine room.

He looked to change things up as St Johnstone were on a bit of a bad run in the league and Paton wasn’t going to get much of a game in the second half of the season.

Since then, St Johnstone have had a bit of a pick-up in form, so his departure hasn’t had a huge impact.

He is a leader and was captain of Dundee United before he moved to St Johnstone.

Paton is a good lad and a leader in the dressing room.

When Dundee were relegated in the 2015-16 season – which was a big shock to everyone – he was one of the players who never chucked the towel in.

He even got the league’s player of the month that year so he’s certainly up for a challenge.

I’d say Paton is capable of playing at League One level.

He’s had injury problems like any midfielder at the same stage of his career, but there’s been no serious ones recently.

It’s not that long ago that he was playing football – his last game was at the end of January – and he’s one of the better free agents kicking about.