Career-defining summer looms for talented Portsmouth defender Brandon Haunstrup
In the immediacy, Brandon Haunstrup must focus on recovering from the knee injury sustained in the dying throes of a Peterborough draw.
The precise extent of the problem has not yet been made for public consumption, although there was little optimism emanating from Kenny Jackett post match.
Yet it’s the future which really intrigues, as the talented full-back must wrestle with thoughts of initiating a potential Fratton Park exit in search of career development.
The former Crookhorn College pupil has effectively spent his Pompey first-team association as a left-sided back-up, firstly for Enda Stevens and then Dion Donohue and now Lee Brown.
There have been runs in the Checkatrade Trophy side, while recently Haunstrup has impressed as a make-shift right-back, even earning the nod over Ross McCrorie last weekend.
Yet, at the age of 23, he requires regular first-team football to develop undoubted promise.
With his existing two-year Pompey deal expiring in the summer of 2020, a career crossroad looms for the Waterlooville lad.
Brown remains Jackett’s undisputed first-choice when injury permits, an ongoing presence cemented by his appointment as vice-captain in September.
Incidentally, Brown is also out of contract at the season’s end, although the Blues possess a club option to extend his stay for an additional 12 months.
In the case of Haunstrup, such a stipulation wasn’t publicly announced when he penned his latest deal in June 2018.
However, far from being a free agent next summer, Pompey are entitled to compensation as he is under 24, although must offer a new contract to enforce that.
Still, the critical point is whether Haunstrup himself sees a future with the Blues.
With 55 appearances and one goal since his August 2015 debut, the left-back is primed to step up his career by establishing himself in a first-team regular. Certainly he deserves such an opportunity.
Would he be offered that chance at Fratton Park, whether as a Championship club or remaining in League One? It’s a key question.
Conor Chaplin understandably had to leave his beloved Pompey for the sake of furthering his career and has registered three times in Barnsley’s past four Championship matches.
Haunstrup’s summer of 2020 could well be career defining.