Devera revelling in new Pompey system

Joe Devera. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Devera. Picture: Joe Pepler

Joe Devera believes he is revelling in Pompey’s newly-constructed defensive solidity.

The 27-year-old has become a key component in Andy Awford’s back line this season.

In terms of defenders, only Paul Robinson has started more matches than the former Swindon man so far.

Devera has established himself as a central figure in the three-man unit increasingly employed by Awford.

When using the system, Pompey have conceded only two goals in seven games with the versatile defender in their ranks.

That includes two clean sheets in the past three matches, including Saturday’s goalless draw at Hartlepool.

And Devera believes it is bringing out the best in him – and Pompey.

He said: ‘It is definitely easier playing in a back three.

‘We are starting to get to know each other, learn about each other, and I feel more comfortable with every game that goes by.

‘I have played there in the past at Swindon and Barnet but not so regularly, maybe once or twice. It is a bit more consistent with Pompey.

‘I am liking it too, it’s good, I feel we are solid and look good with the formation, while it keeps me as a centre half, which I really enjoy.

‘Looking at us now I feel we are a lot harder to break down but it’s not just a back three responsible for that, it’s the formation.

‘The wing-backs come back to make a back five and then when we are attacking it goes to an attacking three and midfield.

‘We are solid and getting clean sheets, which is massive.

‘If we can keep the goals out and get clean sheets and start scoring at the other end, we will take off.’

Devera last season played just one match under Awford in the run which kept the club in the Football League.

This summer saw a squad overhaul, particularly in central defensive areas, with Sonny Bradley and Bondz N’Gala departing Fratton Park and Paul Robinson arriving on loan from Millwall.

Devera didn’t even make the match-day 18 for the opening day 1-1 draw at Exeter.

On that occasion it was a back four, with Jack Whatmough and Ben Chorley the centre halves.

Since then he has been a regular presence, making eight starts and one substitute appearance as Awford’s side have moved into eighth spot.

For the past three matches Devera has lined up on the right hand-side of a back three, with Robinson and Whatmough alongside.

And he has praise for his colleagues.

‘Robinson, since he has come here has been consistently good, I like playing alongside him,’ Devera added.

‘He is a very good leader and a very good player, extremely solid.

‘Whatmough is up there as well. He has also done really well.’