Date: 15th March 2018 at 8:50am
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Sylvain Deslandes started the defeat against Gillingham but Brandon Haunstrup finished it – the pair are now battling for the left sided defensive position when Pompey go to Oldham on Saturday.

Kenny Jackett felt there wasn’t much between the two as to who would get the nod last weekend, but opted for the on-loan Wolves man.

He told the News: ‘Sylvain’s a powerful player but, in terms of his selection on the ball, he has to maybe get some calmness – and he has that in training. Similarly, I was pleased with Brandon when he came on. He put in two or three very good crosses and, for us, with him coming back there are some options there. It was very close between Brandon and Sylvain to start against Gillingham.’

Yes, Deslandes, admittedly still very young himself and inexperienced, does look as if he’s a big powerful defender but I thought his decision making was lacking. His confidence, dare I say ability, coming forward as a wingback left something to be desired too.

He looked, especially early on in the game, as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do? Should he drop deeper and defend or push further forward and add another attacking outlet? In the end he didn’t do much of either, being undecided and this left a huge gap for Gillingham to exploit, which it looked as if they would at first.

So, why did Jackett opt for Deslandes over Haunstrup?

‘I just felt maybe a defender was needed in that position (Deslandes), whereas Brandon can get forward very well,’ Jackett explained.

‘In the end, they both got part of the game and if I can have two for one position that would be good.’

Jackett’s the manager but surely if you’re going to play with five at the back, obviously including a three-man central defence, these fullbacks, clearly become wingbacks, are then the outlet going forward to offer width, which is otherwise lacking. Therefore you surely go with a player who is more comfortable going forward?

Apologies to Deslandes, making his Fratton bow I believe, but Haunstrup looked a much better option and offered far more in his second half showing – in fairness I thought he was our best player all things considered – than the man he replaced so as much as Jackett said ‘they will be fighting it out to try to play this weekend’ there should be only winner. Well, for me anyway.

Be it as a left back or a left wingback, Jackett surely has to go with Haunstrup?

Academy graduate Haunstrup has himself grown in stature from a slow start before starting to look the part at left back after finally getting his chance his apparent promise had threatened in the past couple of seasons.

Ok, this was my first sighting of Deslandes, but I wasn’t sold on him as a fullback – he looked to have more of a central defender look about him.

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2017-18 Prediction League – March
Oldham (a) Saturday 17th March 2018 – click here.
Oxford (h) Sunday 25th March 2018 – click here.
Walsall (a) Saturday 31st March 2018 – click here.

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