James Dunne 100 per cent Pompey will be promoted

James Dunne, second right, in pre-season training last summer with, from left, Paul Cook, Michael Poke, Tom Craddock and Paul Jones
James Dunne, second right, in pre-season training last summer with, from left, Paul Cook, Michael Poke, Tom Craddock and Paul Jones

Pompey will finally escape League Two this season.

That is the verdict of James Dunne, who is convinced Paul Cook’s side possess the quality required to clinch promotion.

The midfielder is unable to play for Cambridge United tomorrow under terms of his January arrival from the Blues.

Instead, he will be an onlooker as Cook’s men attempt to revitalise a promotion push which presently has seen them drop to one place outside of the play-off spots.

Regardless, Dunne – who made 38 appearances for Pompey – is adamant his former club have the necessary ability to go up.

He said: ‘Whenever I have watched Pompey this season the football has been ridiculous for the level, some of the players are top-drawer.

‘I think they can go up, definitely. They are one point off the play-offs, 100 per cent they can go up.

‘They have one of the strongest squads in the league and will still go up.

‘Sometimes you can play the best football and then come up against a team who are nasty.

‘I have played in loads of those games and it’s not nice, but you have got to be up for the challenge.

‘Sometimes if you are not up for the challenge you don’t get the result.

‘At the moment, though, they are sitting nicely in the league, have a good squad and deserve to go up.

‘It’s not easy to get out of the league, but I think this will be the year for them.’

Of course, the Blues had promotion aspirations when Andy Awford signed Dunne from Stevenage for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2014.

They would go on to finish in 16th – the club’s lowest placing in its Football League history.

The 26-year-old was one of the few who could emerge from that wretched campaign with any credit.

He finished behind Jed Wallace in The News/Sports Mail player of the season award, as voted for by the Fratton faithful

Dunne would make 38 appearances last term, scoring a memorable goal against Dagenham & Redbridge in September 2014.

Yet he was disappointed with the return from a Blues squad he believes should have performed so much better under Awford.

He added: ‘The fans have always been good to me. Last year wasn’t a good season, we wanted to do much better.

‘We had the players and the squad to do it but for some reason just didn’t.

‘I tried to do my best every time I went out there, I played with my heart on the sleeve and it didn’t work out.

‘Having a decent squad on paper means nothing, we probably had five or six players every week who would turn up – but the others not so many.

‘In this league you need your players every week to be up for the challenge, you have to battle.

‘With the quality we possessed we should have got out of the league. For some reason that didn’t work.’