Defender set for maiden Pompey call-up

Pompey youngster Sam Magri
Pompey youngster Sam Magri
Pompey new boy Dion Donohue Picture: Colin Farmery

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Sam Magri is set to win his maiden Pompey call-up.

The 17-year-old is expected to be among the substitutes for tonight’s Championship trip to Birmingham.

Magri, from Fratton, has been part of the first-team set-up for the past few weeks.

Now, with Aaron Mokoena, David Norris, Luke Varney and Kanu absent through injury and Ryan Williams sold to Fulham, he will step up into tonight’s match-day squad.

It will be a proud moment for the former Meon Milton defender.

And Blues boss Michael Appleton has no qualms about calling on the Academy prospect.

He said: ‘Sam has travelled with us the past couple of times we have gone away.

‘He will probably get an opportunity to get on the bench tonight.

‘With Ryan Williams moving to Fulham, that creates a spot among the substitutes. If Sam gets on I am sure he won’t let anybody down.

‘With him it is similar to the Williams situation.

‘So if the Football League were looking on it in terms of having an extra number, he is actually down as a youth player.

‘In their eyes, Ryan was never part of the actual first-team squad.

‘And Sam has also done well in training for us.’

Magri will follow in the footsteps of both Williams and Adam Webster.

The trio have all emerged from the Academy set-up into the first-team picture this season.

Williams made six substitute appearances before his transfer deadline day move to Fulham.

He had already impressed under former boss Steve Cotterill during the pre-season programme.

As for Webster, he has so far played twice as a substitute under Appleton.

The 17-year-old from West Wittering is another who has risen from Andy Awford’s youth set-up.

What’s more, it appears there are others in the Academy a mere step behind.

George Coulson, Ashley Harris, Jed Wallace and Alex Grant have also worked with the first-team in recent weeks. And Appleton is liking what he is seeing.

He added: ‘Sam is used to being with the players every day.

‘It is about integrating him and that’s what we are doing with the majority of the players.

‘We have two or three of them training with us every week.

‘At the start of last week we had George, Ashley, Jed and Alex and it has been good.’