Wing-back system offers defence cover

Joe Devera and Paul Jones. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Devera and Paul Jones. Picture: Joe Pepler

JOE DEVERA believes Pompey’s wing-back system can continue to shine.

Blues boss Andy Awford returned to a 3-5-2 formation for the Northampton clash last night.

His players responded with a 2-0 win and their second clean sheet in four games.

The other shut out came when the same approach was employed against Peterborough in the Capital One Cup last week.

Devera started that game, too, and feels, despite the attacking nature of the approach, it can offer plenty of protection for keeper Paul Jones.

The 27-year-old has played in the system intermittently in his career but is comfortable doing so.

Devera said: ‘I’m happy with the formation.

‘I’m happy playing anywhere in it.

‘We’ve got good diversity.

‘We’ve got experience and young Jack Whatmough who, is doing well. There’s no doubt it’s working.

‘I’ve played it before but not played it consistently.

‘It’s working really well.

‘I thought we looked solid using it. We looked strong.’

Ricky Holmes operated on the right of Devera against the Cobblers last night with Nicky Shorey used in the left wing-back role.

Holmes put in a hard-running performance which went down well with Pompey fans.

Devera pinpointed that desire to get back and offer cover as key to the formation’s success.

He feels that work-rate is echoed around Pompey’s team.

Devera said: ‘We’ve got hard-working wing-backs.

‘I was playing with Holmesie, who was working very hard to get up and down.

‘If you are under the cosh, the wing-backs get back to help you out.

‘We’re talking all the time. Non stop. Everyone’s at it.

‘It comes from the front.

‘The strikers work hard to take the pressure off the defence.’

Pompey made four changes for the meeting with Chris Wilder’s side.

Devera was one of those to come into the equation after dropping to the bench for the Cambridge win on Saturday.

He accepts that it will be a squad game for his team this season.

And the former Swindon man believes his team-mate accept and understand that scenario as well.

Devera said: ‘I think this season there is a massive squad.

‘There will be people coming in and out.

‘If you are playing then it’s great. If you’re not you’re working to get back into the team.

‘Everyone is working so hard on the pitch and off it.’

Despite picking up seven points from three league games, Devera is refusing to get too excited by Pompey’s opening.

He said: ‘It’s another clean sheet and if you are keeping a clean sheet you are happy as a defender.

‘We’re not getting too carried away, but, of course, we are happy with the start.’

‘We’d be happy to keep working at it and creep up on teams as the season goes on.’