Enda Stevens sets his Pompey assist target

Enda Stevens relishes the chance to attack. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens relishes the chance to attack. Picture: Joe Pepler

Enda Stevens has rolled out a 10-assist target as he attempts to aid Pompey’s promotion push.

The Irishman is establishing himself in Paul Cook’s side as an attacking left-back capable of creating chances.

In his opening eight Blues appearances he has recorded assists against Derby County and Plymouth Argyle.

He also supplied the throw-in Kyle Bennett utilised to score his first goal in the opening-day victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.

A left winger in his youth, Stevens’ natural attacking instincts have seen him slot effortlessly into Cook’s system.

And the 25-year-old has challenged himself to get into double figures during the duration of the campaign.

He said: ‘You look at full-backs, the job you have to do is get up and down.

‘You can’t forget we are defenders first and although we attack at every opportunity, defensively you have to be sound.

‘But every footballer enjoys attacking, it’s what you play football for.

‘That feeling you get when setting up a goal, well that is like me scoring a goal!

‘I got about three assists for Doncaster last season.

‘That’s not good, you want to aim for about 10 assists from left-back, you have to set your sights high.

‘I don’t know if I have reached that target before, I have only really started counting over the last few years.

‘So far there was the second goal against Derby and I am counting penalties, so there was the one at Plymouth.

‘I threw the ball to Benno in the first game of the season and he scored, so I’m counting that as well. You have to claim them!

‘The manager is very attack-minded and when the ball gets put into the box it is not going to come from the three lads attacking, it is probably going to arrive from the two full-backs.

‘We are looking to cut the ball back, looking to cross, hang it up and get it into the box for the lads to tap in.’

Stevens demonstrated his versatility against Barnet on Saturday by switching to a wing-back as Cook implemented a 3-5-2 system at half-time.

Previously, he lined-up wide in front of Brandon Haunstrup in the Capital One Cup match against Derby, laying on the winning goal for Conor Chaplin.

And the Republic of Ireland under-21 international has no fears of being asked to play higher up the pitch.

He added: ‘When I was younger I was a left winger but as the only left footer in the team you kind of get shoved to left-back.

‘However, I’ve played left-back since the age of 12 or 13, even if there’s no glory there!

‘You get your attacking instincts in training through shape.

‘Once you have played left wing you have to learn the defensive side of playing left-back – and once you have the two then it is about balance.’