Paul Hardyman has called on the local community to ensure Pompey are not missing out on finding the best young players in Hampshire, amid the club’s ongoing financial struggles.
The Academy’s budget has been decimated in recent times, which has cut the number of talent-spotters available and the distance they can cover.
But the club’s recent financial troubles have had a positive effect for the local youngsters as Pompey’s efforts are now more concentrated on their own patch more than ever.
And Hardyman, whose under-18 side travel to Crawley this weekend, and his staff are keen to check out recommended players, insisting that nobody will be ignored.
Hardyman explained: ‘The budget has been massively hit but we’ve still got people out there watching players.
‘We use our community scheme massively and the holiday coaching courses are an ideal way to make sure players get seen by Pompey coaches.
‘But all of our community coaches act as scouts because they are out in the schools every day.
‘We’ve got four scouts who are always out and about at school games or local league matches.
‘But we’re always looking for people to nominate players from their club or school. We always follow them up and I was out watching one young lad last week who had been recommended to us.
‘We will be inviting him in at some point.’
Adam Webster was spotted as a 10-year-old on a holiday coaching course by Hardyman.
And the former Blues left-back is identifying talent as young as six years of age.
He said: ‘We look at players as young as six or seven, which sounds ridiculous.
‘But you have to look at players that young.
‘They are kept in the system until they reach under-nines and then we can sign them.
‘The kids are innocent at that age. They have no qualms about making mistakes or responsibilities and it’s how football should be played, really.
‘You can see the talented players and you can usually tell within a couple of months whether a player has got a chance.
‘Of course, lots of things can happen along the way when they start finding girls and other interests or distractions.
‘At 13 or 14, they can start having a bit of an attitude or having their own opinions and can resist discipline.
‘Then you start to find out a bit more about them.
‘But we’re looking all over Hampshire. We get players recommended to us all the time and there are some good young players out there that we don’t know about yet and would love to hear about.’
To contact Pompey’s head of young player recruitment, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org