Lee Brown: My sympathy for Portsmouth’s jettisoned Checkatrade Trophy regulars
Lee Brown has revealed his sympathy for Pompey’s sidelined stars who ensured Wembley became a reality.
On Sunday, the Blues will face Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
Kenny Jackett will name a full-strength side in a competition which has largely served as an opportunity for fringe players and promising youngsters.
The semi-final at Bury marked a notable change in selection policy, however, with Pompey’s boss instead sticking with his first-team regulars.
That meant jettisoning the likes of Louis Dennis, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Matt Casey from the team.
The quartet also won’t be in the Wembley starting XI, although some may occupy the bench.
And Brown, who has claimed Haunstrup’s left-back spot, revealed his empathy for their plight.
He said: ‘I have come in at the end and feel sorry for the players which got us all the way here.
‘People forget about the earlier rounds and what they have done – it’s so easy for people like myself to come in and take the glory of playing at Wembley.
‘I know everyone says “That’s football”, but from a human point of view it’s not nice.
‘Spare a thought for LD (Dennis), Brandon, Adam May, Rodders (Casey), there’s loads.
‘They were playing in games which nobody was turning up to – and doing really well for the team.
‘LD got player of the round at Southend, the next game was on the bench and the semi-final not even in the squad.
‘I know it’s football, but sometimes you've got to think about those people as you come into these glory rounds. It’s only natural to have such thoughts.
‘I came in for the semi-final, but always have a thought in my mind about the lads which got us there.’
Haunstrup was an ever-present until the semi-final, starting all six fixtures, while rookie defender Casey had been handed three starts and is currently on loan at Gosport.
Dennis has impressed during his five Checkatrade Trophy outings, scoring at Southend, while May amassed four appearances.
Youngsters Haji Mnoga, Freddie Read, Dan Smith, Bradley Lethbridge and Leon Maloney have also contributed, making their senior debuts in the competition.
And Brown acknowledged the input of all those appearing in the seven matches to date.
He added: ‘We have a fantastic squad.
‘Other teams were playing strong teams and we were still winning, that's credit to our squad and the players turning out.
‘LD is a fantastic player, as is Brandon, they can all step up to that level now, no doubt in my mind.
‘It’s frustrating for them and if the boot was on the other foot I would feel the same.
‘But it’s a team game, we have to stick together, everyone has to be professional.’