Blades loanee not sure of a place after leaving Lane

Kieron Freeman
Kieron Freeman

Portsmouth manager Paul Cook has outlined his reasons behind signing Sheffield United’s Kieron Freeman on loan.

The right-back agreed a loan switch to the League Two side earlier this week, joining Marc McNulty on the South Coast and linking up again with Ben Davies and Michael Doyle.

Davies has established himself as Pompey’s first choice right back, and former Chesterfield boss Cook said: “Kieron is a lad we have been after for a long time.

“I think our supporters can see when we try to bring in players we try to bring in quality.

“He is a very, very attacking right-back who has played at a good level and has great energy. But Kieron is there to challenge Ben, without a doubt, not take over his place.

“I believe we have the best two full-backs in the league. I must admit, I wouldn’t swap Ben or Enda Stevens for any other full-backs in League Two. Ben has been absolutely fantastic, but we just have to be careful with the fixtures coming up.

“We had no cover for Ben and right-back has been a little bit of a problem area in terms of cover. So, for the final 20 games, we felt it important to get good cover.

“The reality now is with three games in a week Ben Davies won’t be under pressure to play all three.

“We are delighted with Ben, this is nothing to do with him, it’s just we felt having cover there for a run-in is very important.

“The numbers have been cut lately but we need a little bit of squad depth. We must maintain quality.”

Freeman must wait to make his debut for the Fratton Park club . They face Bournemouth in the FA Cup this afternoon, but Freeman is cup tied, after playing - and scoring - for United in their 3-0 first round win over Worcester City back in November.

The 23-year-old former Derby defender started the season at right back in the absence of John Brayford, but the last of his 22 appearances this season came as a late substitute in United’s 1-1 draw at Barnsley in late November.

Freeman also attracted interest from Scottish side Kilmarnock.

“I knew about Portsmouth’s interest in me for about a week or so,” the Wales under-21 international said.

“They told me about it on Tuesday and I had to come down for Wednesday, so it meant a long train journey down here!

“Paul Cook likes his attacking full backs and I do like to get forward, but defending is important, too.

“Any modern-day right-back has to be able to do both.

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the crowd at Fratton Park.”

United, meanwhile, have allowed Ioan Evans and Daniel Cockerline to join Boston United and Curzon Ashton respectively, on loan.

Defender Jake Phillips has had his contract terminated by mutual consent.