Pompey Academy will relish the challenging trip to Youth Alliance League south-west division leaders AFC Bournemouth on Saturday (11am).
That’s the verdict of coach Mikey Harris, who believes his in-form Blues have a point to prove after a narrow defeat to the Cherries earlier this season.
Harris’ side slipped to a 2-1 loss against the table-toppers at Furze Lane in mid-September.
But they have been unbeaten ever since, winning four times – including an impressive 4-0 FA Youth Cup success at Plymouth Argyle.
Harris said: ‘We had a really good game against Bournemouth at home and it was a game we really should have won.
‘We dominated possession and performed very well on the day but unfortunately switched off for a couple of goals.
‘We scored a good goal ourselves but didn’t get anything out of the game results-wise, although the performance and the development of the players was excellent.’
Harris, who is eyeing an opportunity to get one over old mentor Joe Roach in the weekend clash, insisted his Blues side are up for the challenge posed by the Cherries.
He aid: ‘Bournemouth are a strong side – they are a Championship club looking to push into the Premier League now and they have got a strong academy set-up.
‘They have got Joe Roach and Fletch (former Cherries player Carl Fletcher) looking after things down there.
‘Joe used to coach me when I was a youngster on Bournemouth’s books, so I know him very well.
‘They’re strong but that is what we want.
‘We want challenges, we want tough games and we want to be put in a challenging environment,
‘It’s a game we’re looking forward to.’
Harris, though, was quick to play down the importance of his side’s impressive recent form.
He said: ‘We’re not too worried about unbeaten runs.
‘To be honest, I hadn’t even realised we were on an unbeaten run until someone mentioned it to me at the FA Youth Cup!
‘It is purely about developing individuals for Andy’s (Awford) first team and obviously Conor Chaplin has made the first step to that transition.
‘The aim for us now is to try to get another one of the lads through – and then another – it is never-ending.’
Aside from long-term absentee Dory Yates, who is recovering from a broken leg, Harris has a full squad to pick from ahead of the Cherries trip.