Smiles better from Drennan as he roars into form

Michael Drennan, left, celebrates at Dagenham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Drennan, left, celebrates at Dagenham. Picture: Joe Pepler

The grin has found its way back onto the face of Pompey’s forgotten man.

And how Blues followers were also full of smiles following Michael Drennan’s Dagenham & Redbridge match-winning contribution.

Despite a debut goal at Scunthorpe, the loanee from Aston Villa had disappeared from the first-team frame in recent weeks.

Failing to make two of the last four squads, he managed just one minute of action during that period under both Richie Barker and Andy Awford.

Yet at Victoria Road, Drennan was presented with a shock recall in place of the injured Wes Fogden – and sparkled.

The 20-year-old netted twice, the second a stunning strike from distance, in the comprehensive 4-1 victory.

And caretaker boss Awford has revealed the secret to the striker’s impressive return to form.

He said: ‘Mickey was a little bit low on confidence when I took over and we spoke with him and we managed him, if you like.

‘We made him a bit happier around the place and thankfully he is now and will be as high as a kite after those two finishes.

‘When you are not confident you don’t take that on for the second goal.

‘I have to say in training they are flying in for him at the moment which is the reason I picked him, he impressed me in training and has done really, really well.

‘He knew his role and responsibilities last weekend and thankfully it came off for us.’

Despite having been at Fratton Park since the end of February, Drennan has never started successive matches.

That disappointing statistic could be ended this weekend with the visit of Bristol Rovers in another crucial fixture.

The Irishman certainly warrants keeping his place following that Daggers’ display, a star showing brought to an early end when he suffered cramp in his right leg.

Drennan operated behind Ryan Taylor in the 4-2-3-1 system Awford has employed so impressively during his time in caretaker charge.

It was a foreign role but Awford believes he adapted superbly.

Awford added: ‘It was a different role for Mickey last weekend, I like the way we play, I didn’t want to change the system.

‘It would have been easy to have gone 4-4-2 and played Taylor and Drennan up front but I didn’t want to change the way we played because we’ve had success playing that way.

‘So I spoke with some people up at Aston Villa about him playing in a different role, got the reply that I wanted, explained it to him and worked on him in training.

‘I felt he was the person that was suited to the team we were playing against and also how we want to play.

‘I don’t spend too much time looking at the opposition, but we know what they are about and had to make sure we tried to do our best – and at the moment everybody is doing it.’