Mark Kelly: Academy future so bright for Pompey

Jez Bedford on the ball against Manchester City. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (151959-12)

Jez Bedford on the ball against Manchester City. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (151959-12)

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The future remains bright as the Pompey Academy production line continues at pace.

That is the verdict of youth boss Mark Kelly after watching the latest band of promising products in FA Youth Cup action.

You have got to remember what it’s all about, it’s about individual development, and they have had a real go against a team which beats others in their league 7-2

Mark Kelly

The Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Tuesday night, a loss inflicted just nine minutes from full-time.

Unsurprisingly, a Fratton Park crowd of 1,779 provided a standing ovation for Mikey Harris’ side at the final whistle following a gutsy showing against the Premier League giants.

Certainly many of the Pompey youngsters on display did more than enough to suggest they possesses a future with the club.

In recent times there has been a conveyor belt of talent emerging from the youth ranks into the first team.

And Kelly is convinced there is plenty for the Fratton faithful to be optimistic about looking ahead.

He said: ‘The kids showed they have technical ability and should be knocking on the door, pushing and trying to get that pro contract and attempting to get in the process of becoming a professional footballer at this club.

‘I think Tuesday night proved we do have players in this Academy, which I have said all along.

‘You have got to remember what it’s all about, it’s about individual development and they have had a real go against a team which beats others in their league 7-2.

‘This is about the future of the football club and where it goes and how it goes forward.

‘The Manchester City game has proven we do have boys in and around the system who not only can compete on levels but compete on probably the highest level.

‘They have also demonstrated they have technical ability themselves.

‘I am massively proud, it’s a big ask but Tuesday goes to show the distances between levels are never that great.

‘We have played Category One clubs at younger levels and I find the same, sometimes we come out and play the better football so we are not too far away.

‘We are not too far away from producing where we want to be which is people in the system moving forward.

‘It is all good for the future.’

It’s back to league action on Saturday as Pompey host Bristol Rovers at Furze Lane.

They regroup having won much praise from those Blues fans present on Tuesday night.

And under-18s manager Harris is also proud of the youngsters.

He added: ‘It certainly gave an indication we can compete with probably the best Category One academy in the country.

I don’t think we looked out of place, on another night I dare say we could have nicked it.

‘But they showed a lot of quality and talent and all credit to them.

‘I am never going to name individuals, lads will develop at different rates, however I believe we have some players who will go on and have successful careers.’

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