Not to be pigeonholed - the priceless defensive commodity Hayden Carter offers Portsmouth after Blackburn loan arrival

Hayden Carter has revealed the priceless defensive commodity which attracted Pompey.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:55 am

And the versatile youngster has declared himself primed for Pompey action as he targets an AFC Wimbledon debut tonight.

That puts Kieron Freeman’s place under threat, despite being a mainstay in a defence which, until Saturday against MK Dons, had gone 546 minutes in League One without conceding.

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Yet Carter should not be pigeonholed as a central defender.

According to the loanee, he has operated at right-back in the Championship for Blackburn this season – in addition to centre-half outings.

Emerging through the Ewood Park ranks, there have also been spells at right wing-back and even as a left-sided central defender.

Now he brings that variety to Pompey’s small squad.

Hayden Carter has started seven Championship game for Blackburn this season - in several defensive roles. Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Carter told The News: ‘First and foremost, I would like to think I’m one who puts his body on the line and does everything for the team defensively.

‘I am a right sided centre-half, that’s where I’ve played most of my Academy football, but during the past few years I have also played left centre-half and right-back. So I’m comfortable anywhere across the back line.

‘As an under-23, a back three was the main formation, now Blackburn’s first-team play that same system.

‘On loan at Burton last season it was a back four, with me at right centre-half with a lad called Michael Bostwick, who the gaffer coached before when at Lincoln.

‘Back at Blackburn, for three games at the start of the season I played right-back, while in the under-23s and under-18s I’ve been at right wing-back on occasions.

‘I’m more suited to a centre-half, however, and would like to think I can be a ball player in that role.

‘Through my whole Academy career, that’s what they try to drill into us, telling us to start attacks from the back.

‘But the main thing for a defender is to keep the ball out of our net.’

He spent the second half of last term on loan at Burton, rattling up 24 games and four goals, including winning 2-1 at Fratton Park in April 2021.

And despite not playing since November at any level, Carter is confident he can slot straight into Pompey’s side at Plough Lane tonight (7.45pm).

He added: ‘I am more than ready to be called upon. I feel fit, I feel sharp.

‘I last played an under-23s game for Blackburn in November. Before that was 68 minutes in the Championship against Fulham a few weeks earlier.

‘I’ve kept myself fit in case anything came up in January – and luckily it has with Pompey.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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