Returning Dunne in Pompey frame

  • Dunne returns from suspension
  • Awford pleased with replacement Atanagana’s impact
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James Dunne is straining at the leash following his two-match sabbatical.

But Andy Awford insists he has been pleased with the midfield performances of his deputy, Nigel Atangana.

Pompey midfielder James Dunne Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder James Dunne Picture: Joe Pepler

The accumulation of 10 yellow cards forced the influential Dunne on to the sidelines against Oxford and Northampton.

In his absence, the Blues picked up one point, and now head to Accrington Stanley tomorrow.

The 25-year-old is back in the squad for that fixture and it is a reasonable assumption he will reclaim his starting spot.

Awford is adamant, though, Atangana and Danny Hollands have impressed as the midfield pairing over that period.

Performance levels have got better since Luton and James Dunne was in the 18 that day, but we have played well in the last two games without him

Andy Awford

‘I think Atangana and Hollands have done very well in the two games,’ said Awford.

‘Atangana is a totally different player to Dunne, of course he is, but they have done well.

‘Against Northampton, tactically, I brought two substitutes on at the same time to get some more attacking threat on the pitch because we were losing, it was no reflection on him.

‘Performance levels have got better since Luton and James Dunne was in the 18 that day, but we have played well in the last two games without him.

‘It’s not the James Dunne show.

‘We have played well against Oxford at home, their keeper is man of the match I think and made two fantastic saves.

‘I still don’t know how Matt Duke (Northampton) saved Matt Tubbs’ volley the other night, I thought that was a wonderful save.

‘So we have played well in the last two games which is fair play to the lads, but obviously Dunne gives you what Dunne gives you.’

Dunne has established himself as a popular figure among the Fratton faithful following his summer arrival from Stevenage.

In 27 appearances he has recorded one goal – and amassed 10 yellow cards and two suspensions.

Regardless, it is no debate that Pompey perform more effectively when he is patrolling their central-midfield area

And Awford has been delighted with Dunne’s contribution since his arrival at Fratton Park.

He added: ‘James is a good character, they all are. We have a good group, they all have their own ways and characteristics, and he is quite lively.

‘We paid money for him from Stevenage and I knew what I was getting definitely. I’m pleased he has done well up to now.

‘His injury was a bit of a setback but he has done what I expected him to do.’