Portsmouth passed up chance to sign Hawks striker Jonah Ayunga before Bristol Rovers move

Pompey passed up the opportunity to sign Hawks striker Jonah Ayunga prior to his move to League One rivals Bristol Rovers.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 7:30 am
Jonah Ayunga in action against Pompey in a pre-season friendly last summer. Picture: Dave Haines

Paul Doswell has revealed he contacted Blues boss Kenny Jackett to recommend the prolific forward.

But Pompey chose not to pursue the frontman as they felt he was 'not quite ready' for them.

The Kenyan international completed a move to the Blues' league rivals Rovers on Wednesday for an undisclosed fee.

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Ayunga enjoyed a fine season at Westleigh Park which ended in them suffering a National League South play-off semi-final defeat to Dartford last Saturday.

He netted 24 times in 41 appearances for the club to collect the golden boot award and be named in the National League South team of the season.

And Doswell has admitted to having multiple conversations with Jackett about the striker.

‘I get on really well with Kenny Jackett and we’ve had many conversations about Jonah,' the Hawks boss revealed.

‘We get on great with Mark Catlin as well and he was aware of Jonah.

‘I think at that point they wanted to go with a bit more experience up front, especially if they were going to go into the Championship - which was a possibility at that point.

‘They felt that Jonah would not have been quite ready at that point.'

Doswell emphasised that with the two clubs having such a strong relationship, it's important that Pompey are the first to know about any potential recruits at Westleigh Park.

That's despite the Blues deeming that Ayunga was not quite ready for them.

‘We actually recommended Jonah to Pompey first because I think we should,' added Doswell.

‘If we’ve got a player that we feel is good enough, with the relationship between the two clubs, we will always give Portsmouth the first shout on a player.

‘That’s the right thing to do with the relationship we’ve got.

‘On this occasion, Kenny felt he needed someone more ready at this point.

‘That’s a conversation we probably had on three or four occasions.

‘They were aware of other interest.

‘That’s football and they decided at that point Jonah was not quite ready for them.’