Blake hails Pompey reserves’ commitment

Robbie Blake. Picture: Sarah Standing
Robbie Blake. Picture: Sarah Standing

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Robbie Blake saluted Pompey reserves’ ‘attitude and commitment’ as they drew 0-0 with Leicester City in the Premier League Cup.

The Blues controlled the game for the most part at Holmes Park and missed a number of opportunities.

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Captain for the night Conor Chaplin struck the bar with a second-half free-kick while Jez Bedford also crashed an effort against the frame of the goal on five minutes.

Leicester – currently third in Premier League 2 – were the favourites prior to kick-off.

But Pompey delivered a fine performance and Blake hailed his troops’ effort.

‘We played really, really well throughout,’ the first-team coach said.

‘Our attitude and commitment to the game was fantastic.

‘To trouble a team like Leicester was fantastic and we thoroughly deserved to win it, really.

‘Not only has their keeper made some good saves, but we hit the woodwork twice, while we had efforts flash across the goal.

‘On another day, we probably win that game 3-0.’

From the starting line-up that faced the Foxes, seven have graduated or are currently in the club’s academy.

Blake believes that is a testament to youth chief Mark Kelly and his staff.

Not only did the Blues impress going forward against their Premier League opponents, but they also recorded a clean sheet against a potent Leicester attack.

Triallist Adam Henley played a full 90 minutes under the watchful eye of boss Kenny Jackett.

The free agent was released by Blackburn in summer and has been capped twice for Wales.

Academy talent Matt Casey partnered the experienced Drew Talbot in central defence and the pair formed a solid partnership.

Blake praised the resilience of Pompey.

He added ‘It’s fantastic for our academy to have had seven players out there.

‘I don’t think you would get any other Category 3 academies doing that in the country.

‘It’s a great testament to Kels and the job he is doing at the minute.

‘I don’t actually think Bassy (Alex Bass) had to make a real save in the game.

‘Drew is a fantastic example of a professional.

‘It was great education for Matty Casey to have someone like him next to him.

‘Collectively, we were very good as a unit.’

– WILL ROONEY