POMPEY Academy have been challenged to finish their season with pride.
And coach, Mikey Harris, has outlined the significance of the final five games of the campaign for the youngsters.
The Blues drew 1-1 at Bournemouth last weekend as they were undone by a late, late goal.
That leaves four Merit League Two games for the side on top of a friendly with Southend to play this season.
Under-18 Academy youngsters are waiting to hear if they will be handed a senior contract next season.
Harris explained, regardless of what happens, there will be a need for the players to perform so they can hold their heads high.
And the remainder of the season will offer those Academy youngsters who will make up next season’s under-18 team time to integrate into the set-up.
Harris said: ‘We’ve got five games left.
‘There are two elements to it.
‘We want to finish the season strongly for the boys who are finishing their apprenticeships.
‘That’s whether they are continuing their pathway here or taking a different route.
‘It’s important for them they finish the strongly and can be proud of their efforts this season.
‘The other aspect is looking forward to next season and the new group coming in.
‘It’s them having the opportunity to play together and start forming new relationships.
‘It’s about building a platform for next season.
‘So they are the important factors to me.’
Meanwhile, Harris was content with team’s showing at Bournemouth.
Jez Bedford bagged a decent strike for his team before the Cherries levelled with a slightly fortunate goal from Ryan Glover.
Harris said: ‘It was two really good teams playing contrasting systems.
‘I think, with the ball, we caused them problems – particularly on the counter-attack.
‘But when they had the ball they caused us problems.
‘It was a really entertaining game for the neutral and a good tactical battle between the sides.
‘We both created chances and we got ourselves in front after a decent high press.
‘It was a great goal from Jez and, after, we defended superbly – but we needed to do it for another minute.
‘It was an unfortunate goal, because everyone was picked up in the box.
‘It came off Obi’s (Ousman Saidy) heels and then went to their striker, it wasn’t like players weren’t doing their jobs.
‘But it was probably a fair result in the end on balance of play and chances.’