Lee Brown back for Portsmouth duty at Lincoln - but he has a battle to dislodge Birmingham loanee Steve Seddon
Lee Brown has a battle on his hands to win back his Pompey starting spot.
That’s the verdict of Joe Gallen following the eye-catching opening Steve Seddon has made to his Fratton Park career.
And with Brandon Haunstrup also going under the knife for a knee problem at a similar time, it prompted the Blues to recruit Seddon just a day after the January transfer window opened.
The on-loan Birmingham defender has made a scintillating impact on the south coast, with his set-piece prowess and marauding runs down the flank earning rave reviews.
Brown’s returned to fitness slightly ahead of schedule, however, and will travel with Kenny Jackett’s side for Tuesday night’s League One trip to Lincoln.
The ex-Bristol Rovers man has been first-choice left-back since his arrival in June 2018.
But now he has an uphill challenge to dislodge Seddon.
Assistant-boss Gallen said: ‘Lee is back fit and he's got a battle on his hands.
‘Steve has come in and done very well. Everyone likes him and he’s done very well for us.
'He came in when all our left-footed players weren’t fit and it really upset our balance.
‘He came in for the Fleetwood game and gave us balance with a pass forwards from the middle and defensive thirds and then puts crosses in when in the final third.
‘Steve has got a lot of energy then puts in a lot of corners from the right where we’ve ended up scoring a lot of goals.
‘He’s made a big impact so far, but Lee Brown has played very well for Pompey and everyone has a lot of time for him.
‘We’re really pleased that he’s back but now it’s up to him, Steve and Brandon to fight out who's going to play left-back.’
Brown’s mobility was being affected when playing with his Achilles problem, although that’s now been remedied.
And the fact he’s vice-captain gives him a claim to go straight back into Jackett's line-up at Lincoln.
Gallen added: ‘Lee is a very important player for us – not only on the pitch but off it as well.
‘He has a very good personality, is popular among the players and has a very good attitude.
‘The manager will pick the player who feels is the best one, although it does give him a little extra clout when he's vice-captain and he’s has been a very good signing for us.
‘We're really pleased he is back. He’s saying he is a lot freer in terms of his movement and his running.
‘A big part of Lee’s game is overlapping and getting into the final third to deliver crosses.
‘Achilles injuries are awful and it was certainly hindering his mobility, but he’s back training and looks pretty fresh to me.’