Joe Gallen delivers Portsmouth left-back verdict as duo fight it out for Oxford

Joe Gallen surveyed Pompey’s left-back battle and insisted: It’s so close.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 6:30 am
Charlie Daniels has started five successive Pompey matches since replacing Lee Brown at left-back. Picture: Joe Pepler

The 34-year-old has racked up five successive starts since dislodging former first-choice Lee Brown.

It has proven to be an intriguing scrap between the experienced pair, with Brown in the midst of a fine season after overcoming last term’s injury issues.

Certainly some supporters are calling for the restoration of Brown to Kenny Jackett’s starting XI at Oxford United tonight (7pm).

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And Gallen recognises how close the left-back fight is.

He told The News: ‘I think left-back is a very strong position for us.

‘Charlie has come in and played quite a few games now. I have got to say, I thought he played very well on Saturday (against Blackpool).

‘Lee Brown, when he has played for us, has also done very well.

‘We needed an option there when Cameron Pring went back – and Charlie has provided that.

‘Between them it certainly is a battle and whoever gets the shirt has to keep it because there’s a very good and very capable left-back waiting to pounce.

‘Overall, Charlie has played very well. Whether it’s his shirt or not, it’s a battle with Lee and Charlie – and at the moment Charlie has it.

‘Charlie brings a lot of experience, has a very good left foot, has very good decision making on the ball and defensively pretty sound and solid.

‘Lee has always been very sound defensively. Maybe he can get forward a little bit more at times and get up the pitch.

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‘It’s a battle, it’s close, if either plays I’m pretty comfortable with that.’

Brown has made 22 appearances this season, a tally which would have been higher had it not been for two hamstring tears.

As for Daniels, he has totalled six outings for the Blues, while featured 16 times for Shrewsbury during the first half of the campaign.

Gallen added: ‘Lee is here to play and he did well when he came on at Bristol Rovers – but Charlie also had a good game on Saturday.

‘There’s lots of matches, that’s the key factor, and it’s about picking the right player at the right time, not only as a left-back but in a majority of positions.

‘We need to make sure we’ve got a freshness to the team, that there’s enough energy. Those factors are important in the coming weeks because there’s still so many games to cram in during so little time.’

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