Hilsea venue considered for new Pompey training home

Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Hancott was 16 years and 161 days when he made his Pompey debut in the Checkatrade Trophy against Fulham Under-21s on Wednesday night Picture: Joe Pepler

From Pompey apprentice to record holder - in seven weeks

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Roko is heading the list of potential venues to serve as Pompey’s new training ground.

The News understands the club is exploring relocating to the Copnor Road base for the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

The Mountbatten Centre’s pitches and facilities have also been looked at in the ongoing search by the Blues.

But at present the site which includes Roko Health Club and PlayFootball is a stronger option, although any potential agreement has still to be finalised.

For the Blues’ community ownership, any arrangement would represent the opportunity to create the legacy of a training ground, an essential facility absent for so long from the club.

As reported by The News on January 1, Richie Barker is keen for a different training location this year for his team.

Pompey are presently using Furze Lane having signed a 12-month deal with the University of Portsmouth in August.

However, the lack of pitches is a long-standing headache, with just two on offer to be shared between the first team and the Academy.

There have also been problems over the quality of the surfaces, largely through constant use with no option for pitch rotation.

This has been a complaint which has increased through the bad winter weather as the pitches deteriorate.

In fairness to the Furze Lane venue, Barker has been highly impressed with the alternative of a 3G surface which has been constructed within the last year.

Yet the grass pitches remain a concern and using Fratton Park to train on instead is not a solution.

That puts the spotlight on Roko and PlayFootball, who already have a deal with the Academy to use pitches and gym and pool facilities.

– NEIL ALLEN