Pompey boss not taking the Mick out of new man

James Dunne. Picture: Joe Pepler
James Dunne. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford compared the Fratton firecracker to Pedro Mendes.

But Pompey’s boss believes James Dunne’s all-round game is more reminiscent of Mick Kennedy as the combative midfielder continues to leave his mark.

The 24-year-old posted an early contender for goal of the season with his spectacular 25-yard volley against Bournemouth on Tuesday night.

It was simply a stunning strike from an aggressive player more renowned for his tackling skills.

The Fratton faithful will be presented with another opportunity to assess the powers of Dunne tomorrow with the visit of Charlton (3pm) for their final first-team friendly.

But it seems similarities are already being drawn with Kennedy, who made 144 appearances and scored five goals for the club between 1984-88.

Awford said: ‘I don’t know where that goal came from – it was like Mendes wasn’t it? It was at that end as well!

‘James is always willing to burst into the box. He is a very fit lad and wants to get forward but his main attributes are his tackling and breaking up of the play.

‘He reads it quite well and sticks his foot in, breaks it up and passes it simply to people to get on with it.

‘Someone said to me the other day that he is the closest we have had to Mickey Kennedy for 25-30 years.

‘I have played with Mick and you didn’t go near him too often!

‘Today’s game is totally different to what it was then.

‘You have got to be careful, as soon as two feet come off the floor these days it is a yellow or a red.

‘It has to be controlled aggression and I am sure he can do that.

‘He will pick up his yellows, of course he will, that is the type of competitive player he is but as long as he is controlled with it then I won’t have any grumbles.

‘I am hoping all the players can chip in with goals – they are being shared around in pre-season at the moment.’

Ricky Holmes is expected to return to the Pompey squad for tomorrow’s visit of Charlton.

The winger has sat out the last two matches with a thigh problem, although was very nearly considered for the Bournemouth match.

Instead Awford opted to give him an extended period to recover but he is now in the frame for the clash with the Championship side.

Also expected to come back are Ryan Taylor (groin) and Ben Chorley (thigh) as Awford mulls over his starting line-up for August 9.

Danny East (groin), Tom Craddock (knee) and Wes Fogden (knee) continue to remain on the sidelines through injuries.

Awford added; ‘Ricky was very, very close to making it against Bournemouth. He did the warm-up but will be available tomorrow.

‘Ryan will be training today hopefully to get some minutes ahead of this match.

‘Ben Chorley woke up with a slight niggle in his thigh on Tuesday morning and he should be fit for Charlton as well.’

Charlton’s squad is expected to contain former Pompey defender Tal Ben Haim.

The 32-year-old joined the Championship side in the summer and featured in their most recent friendly, Wednesday’s goalless draw at Peterborough.