Left-back is alright for Devera

Pompey utility man Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey utility man Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler

He arrived with a reputation as one of the best central defenders in League One.

But it’s been largely at left-back where Joe Devera has been impressing for Pompey of late.

And Guy Whittingham has backed the 26-year-old to carry on performing in the makeshift position ahead of the visit of Exeter.

Devera moved to his preferred central role in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Torquay.

But with Sonny Bradley due back from suspension for tomorrow’s meeting with the Grecians, a return to the left-side is in the offing for the former Swindon man.

Whittingham feels the natural right-footer can continue to do a job there if called upon.

He said: ‘Joe’s been fine – he’s been swinging his left foot at it for us!

‘He has got a great attitude and I can see why people said he was a good defender in League One for Swindon last season.

‘He won this league the year before with Swindon.

‘Obviously, he sees himself as a centre-half and so do we, but needs must at the moment.

‘Joe is one of those who will get his head down and work for you.

‘He’s a team player and that’s fantastic. We’ve played him all across the back four now.

‘He has a great attitude. He puts his head down, works hard and puts in good displays for you.

‘Joe’s a good defender and he’s also decent on the ball, which helps.

‘Sometimes he’ll make your heart skip a beat when he does a dragback or takes a touch inside.

‘But, to be fair to him, he does it well.’

The Pompey boss explained he has to think carefully about how he partners up Devera on the left side, with the player not naturally accustomed to the position.

He added: ‘If Joe is at left-back, it’s not natural for him to open out and feed the winger.

‘On occasions, he’s come inside or uses the outside of his foot.

‘So the winger has to adjust slightly to where he picks the ball up instead of it being a natural left-footer.

‘We haven’t got that many left-footers but they are rare anyway.

‘You pick any team and, more often than not, seven out of the 10 outfield players will be right-footers.’

Danny East and Shaun Cooper are other options to play left-back tomorrow, as Marcos Painter also nears fitness.

Whittingham said: ‘Danny has been fine, no problem .

‘He is fit now and Shaun Cooper is a good pro.

‘He picked up a bit of a problem but is fine now.

‘Marcos is stepping things up as well and won’t be too long.’