Appleton to put faith in young trio

Adam Webster
Adam Webster
Jez Bedford in action for the Hawks against Sutton United

Hawks boss to call on Pompey duo again

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Michael Appleton has pledged to put his faith in his Pompey young-gun trio this season.

Ashley Harris, Sam Magri and Adam Webster are to become permanent members of the first-team squad following their emergence last term.

The home-grown talents have risen from the Academy ranks to break into the senior set-up under Appleton.

Webster and Harris both made their Blues debuts during the Championship campaign, while Magri was an unused substitute in five of the last six matches.

Their encouraging progress, coupled with the necessary senior player clear-out, ensures they will get plenty more chances in League One.

Not that Appleton has any qualms about promoting them into his squad on a more regular basis.

And Pompey’s manager believes the youngsters deserve the opportunity.

He said: ‘Not all the young lads are ready for the first team.

‘That is the difficult thing at the moment.

‘We have got Ashley Harris, Sam Magri and Adam Webster, though, who, to be fair, are going to be in and around it for the majority of the season.

‘Whether they are going to play 10, 20, 30, 40 games I have no idea, especially when I don’t know what sort of squad we are going to be able to put together.

‘But those three are going to be with the first team on a day-to-day basis, definitely.

‘It is then up to the rest of them to get involved and try to push their way into the senior squad, starting with pre-season.

‘Ash burst on to the scene last year and must continue his progress.

‘Should he do that, you never know what he can do.

‘With Webbo, when I came into the club I gave him a little part which was good for him.

‘Then he went a little bit quiet and lost a bit of form which young lads do.

‘That is fine and not a problem, he’ll come back.

‘As for Sam, he is someone who has been around for a while and I’ve been aware of him through his England displays.

‘For whatever reason it didn’t work for him last season.

‘These three have had a taste of the first team so far.

‘They are not going to be overawed by the situation and know what they can and cannot do.

‘And they will get games for us this season.’

Blues fans could get a glimpse of other Academy prospects during the pre-season friendly programme.

They would include first-year professionals Dan Thompson, Jed Wallace, Alex Grant, Andy Higgins, George Colson, Elliot Wheeler and Dan Butler.

Appleton added: ‘I’m sure the other lads will get their opportunity during the pre-season, it will be a great experience for them.

‘It would be a risk but sometimes you have no other option. It is about balance and the situation which arises.

‘I’ll be looking at all the young lads to see how they progress.’