Harris keen for Pompey talents to kick on

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Mikey Harris has called on Conor Chaplin to build on his goal-laden Torquay display.

The youngster bagged a hat-trick in the Academy’s 4-1 demolition act last weekend.

Brandon Haunstrup grabbed the other as the Blues impressively ended a run of two successive defeats.

Chaplin netted two in the first-half against the Gulls before sealing his treble from the penalty spot.

It took his season’s tally to six in eight matches, edging him ahead of Lewis Gill in the scoring stakes.

The striker has also twice appeared as a substitute in both reserve matches so far this season, including Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Luton.

And Harris wants Chaplin to continue his goal-scoring progress.

The under-18s boss said: ‘Conor will be pleased with that.

‘He feels like he should score a goal a game and that hat-trick helps him get his rate up.

‘He probably feels he should have scored more goals this season but he has been getting in the positions – that’s the hard bit.

‘The finishing element can be worked on and improved.

‘We have been creating chances at unbelievable rates throughout the season.

‘As a team, at times we have taken them and at times we haven’t.

‘The key is to find the consistency as soon as possible.

‘They need that if they want to progress into Andy Awford’s first team.

‘For 45 minutes we did well but we have played better for longer periods this season and not won games.

‘So we have to try to develop that consistency.’

The Academy employed the same 3-5-2 system utilised by Awford’s first team on occasions this season.

It was a second week in a row the formation had been used as Harris’ youngsters continue to adapt.

The start to the campaign has been a mixed one, with two wins, three defeats and a draw from their opening six league matches.

The Academy management will point to missed opportunities in front of goal being the most frustrating aspect rather than results.

Next they entertain Oxford at Furze Lane on Saturday (11.30am).

And Harris is looking for the youngsters to maintain their progression.

He said: ‘It was the second week with our new shape, mirroring the 3-5-2 formation used by the first team.

‘That’s only the second game some of them have played in it and they are adapting well, learning all the time.

‘Results are not important to myself and the staff but to the lads they are massive.

‘They will take the confidence from the positives and learn from the positives and the negatives.

‘We don’t only say it is not about the result when they lose.

‘It is the same when they win – they have to keep developing regardless of the result.

‘They are a good group, they work hard.’