Bournemouth are set to hand an emotional start to 18-year-old defender Matt Butcher in tomorrow’s FA Cup clash at Pompey (3pm).
The Blues supporter, who hails from Waterlooville, is expected to make only his third Cherries appearance since coming through their youth ranks.
Part of the former Cowplain Community School pupil’s development saw him loaned out to National League South Gosport Borough last season, and their assistant boss Mick Catlin believes he has the talent to be a success in the professional game.
Catlin said: ‘Matt had a little spell with us.
‘He is a Waterlooville lad funnily enough but we didn’t know that until we got him.
‘Myself and Alex Pike (Gosport boss) watched Bournemouth’s development side last season against Pompey down at Furze Lane.
‘Matt was one of the players who stood out, so we made enquiries to see if he was available, and they let us have him for a month.
‘He made his debut at Hemel Hempstead, thrown in at the deep end at centre-half, and had a very good game.
‘He was still a young lad at that stage but I know Bournemouth rate him highly.
‘Hopefully his experience with us helps him along the way but I can see him making it to the very top.’
Catlin added: ‘A lot of young loanees suffer with the physicality of our league but Matt never had that problem.
‘He is a big lad who can handle himself against men.
‘I don’t see any problems with him stepping in at first-team level when called upon.’