Determined Stockford eyeing Icy times ahead

Former Pompey midfielder Lewis Stockford
Former Pompey midfielder Lewis Stockford
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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Lewis Stockford has pledged to bounce back from his Pompey woe.

And he is eyeing a switch to Iceland as a springboard back into the Football League.

The 19-year-old has been released by the Blues after failing to break into the first-team squad this season.

It ends an 11-year association with his home-town club for the former Wimbledon Park Tigers midfielder.

After featuring in every pre-season match under then-manager Steve Cotterill last summer, Stockford was hopeful of establishing himself at the club he supports.

Instead, he failed to even make the bench this season.

And he was shipped out for loan spells at Salisbury City and AFC Totton.

Now the ex-Priory School pupil has not had his Fratton Park contract renewed, along with fellow first-year professionals Lewis Tallack and Carl Walshe.

In the past few months, Stockford has been on trials at both Charlton and Oxford.

Currently on his radar is Icelandic side IBV, who have been put in touch with him by Hermann Hreidarsson.

Talks are on-going over featuring for the former Iceland champions, whose season starts this month.

Regardless of the outcome, Stockford is determined not to give up on his professional football dream following his Pompey setback.

He said: ‘When they receive blows like this, some people let their heads go down.

‘With me, I just want to drive on and prove people wrong.

‘I realise it is a game of opinions but I am a really determined person and will not stop here.

‘It makes me even more determined having played so much of the pre-season, which gave me a little taste of where I want to be.

‘I was loving every minute of it. Then it went downhill from there.

‘Some people drift away from the game and in a way I can understand that.

‘At times you do think: “I’ve had enough of this”.

‘I’m carrying on, though. I am going to keep looking and am working hard.

‘There is already a possibility of playing in Iceland over the summer to get a few more games in, which would be a fantastic experience for me.

‘Apparently, it is not a bad standard and they play qualifiers for the Europa League.

‘I know James Hurst was there a couple of years ago and it didn’t do him any harm.

‘It’s Hermann’s old club. He keeps in touch with them and approached me.

‘I suppose he must think something of me to do that and he has been encouraging me to give it a go.

‘Hopefully, something can come out of it.

‘I have not had a full season so it would be good to get some games.

‘I just want to play football and show I have a good future.’

Stockford, from Fratton, was recently invited to a week-long trial at Charlton by former youth boss Paul Hart.

However, the lack of a reserve or development squad saw him train with second-year Academy youngsters.

He also appeared in three matches for Oxford reserves, although they were unable to offer him a contract.

The midfielder ended the season with a two-month loan at Totton, where he played 10 matches.

Yet a holiday oversight cost him the chance to feature in their unsuccessful Southern League premier division play-off campaign.

He added: ‘I did well at Totton, and if the worst came to the worst, they would have me back definitely.

‘I played regularly for them, but unfortunately had to miss the play-offs because I was on holiday in the Gran Canaria with my family for a week.

‘It was booked back in January for what would have been after the season had finished for Pompey.

‘I never thought it would be a problem.

‘I’ve learned my lesson, though!’