Kelly lauds professionalism of Pompey prospects

Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly Picture: Joe Pepler
Luke McGee in action against Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Why McGee was crucial to Pompey triumph

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POMPEY’S emerging talent have been praised for their professionalism after their week of ‘euphoria’.

A host of Mark Kelly’s Academy set-up were given a first taste of senior action in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Exeter last week.

It might have taken them a bit longer to come down from the Exeter game, but it was just as important they went out and performed.

Mark Kelly

Calvin Davies, Brandon Joseph-Buadi and Adam May all started in the 2-0 loss at St James Park.

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kaleem Haitham also gained minutes and were joined by Alex Bass and Dory Yates in the senior squad.

But it was back to the meat and drink of Academy league action at Bournemouth on Saturday.

There was no post-Exeter lull from the players, though, as they came from behind to deliver a 2-1 win.

May and Buadi were both on the scoresheet after their first-team exposure.

A focus before the game was on finding consistency after the highs many of the squad had experienced.

Despite some physical and mental fatigue, Kelly was delighted to see the pre-match words were heeded.

He said: ‘It’s an interesting one when you have had the exposure of first-team football. The boys have had the euphoria of their debut and everything which came with that.

‘Then they have had to get back to doing what they do on a week in, week out basis.

‘It’s one of those things we spoke to them about before the game. We had a good chat about the importance of them getting the right sort of consistency going.

‘It might have taken them a bit longer to come down from the Exeter game, but it was just as important they went out and performed.

‘It was a hard game and a local derby so the lads were looking forward to it anyway.

‘There were a few of them a bit leggy afterwards!

‘That was natural to hit a bit of tiredness mentally as much as physically after the Tuesday.’

A youthful side, containing seven first-year scholars then slipped out of the Youth Alliance Cup on penalties to Oxford United on Tuesday, after the tie had finished 1-1.

Kelly said: ‘We wanted a change-up for Tuesday so that was more of first-year game.

‘The first half they were a little bit stand-offish because one or two hadn’t played as much as the rest.

‘We had a few short, sharp words at half-time and they got back on it.

‘We should have won the game but it went to penalties and that’s a lottery.

‘But, all in all, things are going very well for us at present and we’re delighted with how things are moving along.’

Pompey Academy return to Oxford on Saturday in Youth Alliance League south west division action (11am).