Pompey Academy eye strong end to season

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris    Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris Picture: Joe Pepler

Danny Rose in action during Pompey's 2-1 win against Newport County. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder: How we get there we don’t care

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Mikey Harris has called on Pompey Academy to finish the season strongly but admitted: It’s frightening we have only two games left.

The Blues’ under-18s side play their penultimate Merit League division one clash at home to Exeter City on Saturday (11.30am).

Coach Harris, who has been at an FA coaching course at England’s St George’s Park training base all week, will assess his players today before deciding on a strategy for the Grecians game with Academy boss Mark Kelly.

With an entertaining encounter expected, the duo will consider whether or not to mix in their current under-16s players with an eye to next term.

For now, though, Harris believes this season’s group deserve high praise for all their efforts – even if the campaign has ‘flown by’.

He said: ‘Exeter is a game we look forward to because they are strong and play the game in the right way.

‘We always have entertaining games with them.

‘But having been away for a few days on a coaching course I have been in a bit of a St George’s Park bubble, so I will have a look at all of the lads today and see what the situation is.

‘That’s whether we are going to mix the under-16s in or what we are going to do.

‘I will sit down and have a conversation with Kels.

‘It’s frightening we have only two games left this season – it seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye.

‘But I think it’s a season that once we sit down and reflect on it, we will view as very positive for the group.

‘It is now important we finish strongly.

‘End well and you can build momentum for next season.

‘We have already begun to integrate the under-16s, so hopefully we can hit the ground running next year.’

With only two games left to play it is logical Harris is already looking ahead to next term.

He added: ‘From a development point of view you have always got one eye on the bigger picture.

‘It’s our job to be that way – I think we do that fairly well.

‘This season there has been some good integration of under-16s players.

‘They have had some experiences with the youth team and came in over the Easter period to train with the boys, so it won’t be completely new to them next season.

‘It all links in to next season.

‘But we have to strike the right balance – it’s on us to make sure they don’t progress too quickly and miss the grounding they need.’

Striker Harvey Bradbury is available for the Blues on Saturday after serving a three-match ban but Calvin Davies (foot) and Jez Bedford (shoulder) are ruled out.

– JEFF MARSHMAN

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