Homegrown talent can by Appy’s game-changer

Ashley Harris in action against Bournemouth. Picture: Barry Zee
Ashley Harris in action against Bournemouth. Picture: Barry Zee
Dion Donohue Picture: Joe Pepler

Scunthorpe v Pompey: early team news

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Ashley Harris can be Pompey’s ‘ace up the sleeve’ this season.

Michael Appleton believes the Purbrook talent can be his game-changing catalyst at Fratton Park in the coming months.

Appleton has noted the impact the 18-year-old has made in his six Blues appearances to date.

He feels that is particularly prominent when his side play at home.

That’s where Appleton can see the Academy graduate having a big impact this season.

He said: ‘We’ve got young Ashley Harris, let’s not forget about him.

‘I think Ash is an ace up the sleeve for me.

‘I know the reaction he gets from fans.

‘If we are having a bit of lull during a period of the game, or if it’s not quite happening, I know what a difference just putting him on the pitch makes.

‘It will lift everyone, so sometimes in home games he might get more game time than he gets away.

‘The fans see a local lad living down the road and the roof lifts off the ground all of a sudden.

‘It gets everyone at it and he is almost a catalyst.

‘As a manager you have to make those decisions and come up with the right team at the right time.’

Appleton has been busy frantically putting a squad together in record time to allow the Blues to be competitive in League One.

That has seen him hand 25 players debuts already this season after a hectic period of recruitment.

Options have been added down the flanks like Jack Compton, Kieran Djilali, Conor Clifford and Jordan Obita.

But Appleton believes Harris has talent to match those players.

He said ‘Ashley has just as much quality as any of the other players we’ve got who can play wide.’