Dunne won’t back down from midfield scraps

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James Dunne vowed to be Pompey’s midfield enforcer and insisted: I won’t shirk a tackle.

These are still early days for the summer recruit, but he has already demonstrated his own brand of uncompromising play in the Blues engine room.

A flying follow-through left Harvey Whyte on the ground against Bognor, while a full-blooded challenge in the first-half during the Ebbsfleet encounter sparked a melee among the players.

They are moments indicative of the steel the 24-year-old brings to Andy Awford’s squad.

The Fratton faithful will be given another glimpse during tonight’s visit of Bournemouth (7.45pm).

And Dunne has pledged never to back down.

He said: ‘I like a tackle, the way the gaffer sets up pressing teams from high up, that is my kind of game.

‘I will win the ball back and give it to the more flair players and let them do what they do.

‘Sometimes I mistime tackles and they go wrong. Obviously I don’t want to hurt someone, but 50-50 challenges I do like and won’t pull out of them.

‘I am not going to back out of a challenge, I am 100 per cent putting myself in front of it.

‘That’s my side of the game and that is what I like doing.

‘Obviously I like attacking, but the best part of my game is mostly defending so I enjoy that more than anything else.

‘One of the Ebbsfleet players reacted the other day when I won a 50-50 challenge and you saw the team spirit of the boys, they were straight behind me.

‘I don’t think there was a need for him to get involved, it was a good tackle, a tough tackle, nothing wrong with it, and the boy wanted to come and kick me in the back of the head after the ball had gone.

‘I’m not going to back down, though.’

Such is his combative approach, inevitably Dunne will pick up yellow cards as the season unfolds.

He is likely to line-up alongside Danny Hollands to form the sitting midfield pair situated behind the attacking three.

Yet the former Exeter player will be the more aggressive option and has a history of collecting bookings.

He received five yellow cards during his last 12 appearances for St Johnstone on loan at the end of last season.

Back in 2012-13, he racked up 12 bookings on his way to becoming Stevenage’s player of the season.

And Dunne admitted it is a drawback to his game he needs to monitor.

He added: ‘I am known for having a yellow card but I’m hoping not to get any bans.

‘Obviously I don’t want to get booked, but with my tackles sometimes I get them wrong. Hopefully I can get them all right and can avoid yellow cards.

‘I just want to play as many games as I can without having any silly suspensions to sit out.’