Emotional Pompey Academy reunion for Harris

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris    Picture: Neil Marshall

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris Picture: Neil Marshall

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Pompey under-18s’ weekend trip to Exeter may have been postponed at late notice, but Academy coach Mikey Harris was only too pleased to have made the journey.

That’s because the Blues’ under-16s side were given the go-ahead for their clash with the Grecians, presenting something of an emotional reunion for Harris.

Pitch availability issues ensured his own side were given an unexpected day off.

But while they stayed at home, the 32-year-old took up the chance to cast an eye over the next crop of talented youngsters vying to be handed scholarship terms.

Not that Harris needed any introductions – this was the same group of players he worked with at under-12s level four years ago when he was plying his trade as assistant manager at Salisbury.

He said: ‘Mark Kelly (Academy boss) and I went down to Exeter with the under-16s which gave me a good chance to see the boys coming up to the under-18s next season, hopefully.

‘I have a bit of an affinity with those boys because I took charge of them when I was at the club four years ago when they were under-12s.

‘It’s quite exciting to think that they will be coming up next year to work with the youth team.

‘When I was a really young coach many moons ago in the Premier League days, I worked in the devleopment centres while playing non-league football.

‘When the club went into adminstration, though, I lost my job, like everyone else.

‘But when I was assistant at Salisbury, Awfs (Andy Awford) got me in to run the under-12s team for a season.

‘I would have carried on but the following season I got the manager’s job at Salisbury.

‘It was nice to go and watch them, though – they are a good group who I will enjoy working with again in future.’

For now, however, Harris’ attention is consumed by his under-18s side.

And having been rested at the weekend, Bournemouth are next up on their radar.

The Cherries make the trip to Furze Lane on Saturday (11am) for Youth Alliance League south-west division action, with Harris expecting a good game.

He added: ‘Although unplanned it was nice for the boys to have a weekend off as they have played a number of fixtures recently and have an even busier schedule to come.

‘Bournemouth are next up and a strong team at this level.

‘They beat us earlier this season but we had goalkeeper Nick Hall sent off early on which made things difficult.

‘They are a strong team who play in the right way,

‘We always have good games against them so I don’t expect that Saturday will be any different.’

The Blues have no new injuries or suspensions to report heading into the game.

– JEFF MARSHMAN

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