Rangers loanee underlines his quality as academy graduate takes Portsmouth chance at QPR

Ross McCrorie forays forward against QPR. Picture: Nigel Keene
Ross McCrorie forays forward against QPR. Picture: Nigel Keene
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Sports writer Will Rooney picks out the talking points from Pompey’s 2-0 Carabao Cup win at QPR...

McCrorie displays his prowess

After Pompey’s pre-season win at Stevenage, shining performance of Ross McCrorie was the topic that raged. 

The Rangers loanee was head and shoulders above the rest and gave a tantalising glimpse of what the Fratton faithful could expect this season.

However, McCrorie’s Blues progress was given a blow when he was sent off during the opening-day defeat at Shrewsbury.

That gave Ben Close an opportunity, who grasped it with both hands and pushed McCrorie down the pecking order.

The Scot finally got another chance in the engine room against QPR and he couldn’t have been much more impressive.

Those driving runs forward at Stevenage were again on show at Loftus Road as he delivered a man-of-the-match display. 

In the first half, McCrorie thrust his way down the right flank and whipped a dangerous cross when hacked down by Ryan Manning.

The Scotland under-21 international continued to demonstrate his prowess when foraying towards the Rangers goals in the second half.

In the 81st minute, he left Toni Leistner for dead when bursting towards QPR's box before getting his head up to put his cross on a plate for Marcus Hanress. 

When McCrorie arrived on the south coast, he had a reputation as one of the hottest prospects north of the border.

Fans got a significant showing of what the 21-year-old can bring to Pompey's promotion push. 

Haunstrup taking his chance

Brandon Haunstrup’s had to be patient during his Pompey career.

First he was behind Enda Stevens in the pecking order before having to play second fiddle to Lee Brown.

However, with Brown on the treatment table for at least next month, Haunstrup has an opportunity to underline he should be first choice left-back.

And the Waterlooville ace certainly made an encouraging start.

Bar one missed tackle in the early stages, Haunstrup hardly put at foot wrong against the Championship side.

Despite having to mark former AFC Bournemouth man Marc Pugh, the 22-year-old relished the challenge.

And when on the attack Haunstrup linked well with Ronan Curtis, with a one-two in the first half which would have broke QPR’s line almost bearing fruit. 

With James Meredith currently trialling with Pompey, there was pressure on Haunstrup to show he's the man who should be playing while Brown’s injured.

The academy graduate did so. 

No right-back, no worries

It was a curveball when Pompey lined-up for kick-off at Loftus Road.

The way the Blues set up could have been predicted by few, if any.

It was Christian Burgess who took up the right-back berth and not Ross McCrorie as expected.

The former Peterborough man has operated in the position on occasions when coming off the bench and Pompey have a lead to protect but never from the outset. 

It was a risky decision from Kenny Jackett – one which the Fratton faithful didn’t react well to on social media.

Fortune favoured the brave, though. Burgess’ added defensive cover helped Pompey yield a clean sheet against a Championship side who offered a potent attacking threat throughout periods.

In terms of his own exploits going forward, the popular defender wasn’t afraid to maraud forward when the opportunity arose and whistled a long-range shot just over the bar.

The tactical decision is unlikely to be for the long term, but there’s no reason why Burgess won’t  be considered to resume his duties at Blackpool on Saturday.