Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike is convinced Nathan Ashmore can progress into the professional ranks.
The goalkeeper has been invited to train full-time with Pompey after appearing for them in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Aldershot on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old will still play for Borough as they prepare for their debut season in the Conference South and play no part in the Blues’ friendly fixtures.
The experience, though, will give Ashmore a taste of what it’s like in the pro game.
And Pike believes the opportunity could be the first step towards an exciting future for the shot-stopper.
‘Nathan can only benefit from full-time training at Fratton Park,’ said Pike.
‘He will be under the wing of the legend Alan Knight and could not wish for a better teacher.
‘It shows what a good working relationship we have with Pompey and it’s a win-win situation for all of us.
‘If it doesn’t work out, then Nathan can come back to us with the benefit of his experience.
‘But I believe it can be a big stepping stone in his ambition to become a professional footballer.
‘In the meantime, he will still play for us when he isn’t needed by Pompey.’
Ashmore started his playing career at United Services Portsmouth before joining the Hawks Academy.
There he was one of the shining lights of their inaugural 2007-08 season, playing 18 games for the side.
The keeper was offered a first-team contract at Westleigh Park in May 2008 but was loaned out to Borough during their Southern League campaign in 2011-12.
He was then allowed to move to Privett Park on a permanent basis for a fee in the region of £2,000.
‘When he came to us I could see why the Hawks sold him,’ said Pike.
‘But with us he could get regular games and had a manager who believed in him.
‘In my 30 years as a manager, I have been lucky to work with two of the best goalkeepers in the area – Mark Brown and now Ashmore.
‘In my time, I have had players who had the ability but not the attitude and vice-versa.
‘Nathan possesses both and can go on and make it.
‘At one stage last season he was thinking of joining AFC Totton because he thought it would be a route into Conference South football.
‘The chairman and I sat him down and told him that his best chance was at Gosport and that has proved to be the case.’
Ashmore is included in the Borough squad for their opening pre-season friendly against Blackfield & Langley at Gang Warily tomorrow (3pm).
Experienced midfielder Jamie Brown is at a wedding, but Pike expects him to be the only absentee.