Pompey Academy pass pressure test

26/07/14  ''Pompeys new players in action at Portchester. [ reporter to get names]'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142192-14)
26/07/14 ''Pompeys new players in action at Portchester. [ reporter to get names]'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142192-14)
Pompey's current crest on the Fratton Park turf. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Mikey Harris believes Pompey youngsters’ ability to thrive in the Home Park pressure augurs well for the future.

The Academy travelled to Devon for the first round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night.

The fixture pitched them into the League Two venue in front of 401 onlookers, surroundings far grander than usually experienced.

Nonetheless, Harris’ side shrugged off the potentially intimidating setting to cruise to a 4-0 victory.

It was outstanding from the visitors, with Conor Chaplin grabbing two goals and Adam May and Chad Field netting the others in the comfortable triumph over the Pilgrims.

Pompey will next travel to the winners of Dartford or Thamesmead in the second round.

In the meantime, Harris spoke of his delight at how the team coped with the Plymouth trip.

He said: ‘That was certainly up there with one of our better performances, in fact it probably meant a little bit more because there was more pressure on.

‘You are obviously playing in a better ground and there’s a crowd, there are all those elements to take into account and that was the challenge.

‘We have performed all season fairly consistently, the challenge was to do it under pressure, in a pressure game, where the result mattered and they did that to a man. I could not fault anybody.

‘You can go one of two ways in that situation. You have rise to it and embrace the challenge like we did on Tuesday night and be successful – or you can feel pressured and let the occasion get to you and end up not fulfilling your potential.

‘I can honestly say it didn’t feel like we had a player do the latter against Plymouth.

‘It was calm and relaxed from the start and I am really pleased for the boys because they are a great group.’

For Harris, the Academy continue to display encouraging development during the campaign.

Last weekend a goalless draw at home to Torquay ensured they currently occupy sixth spot in the Youth Alliance South-West League.

There is no match this weekend but Harris is delighted with how the youngsters are progressing.

He added: ‘We have looked like how we did against Plymouth in the majority of the games this season.

‘We haven’t always got the results we deserved but have tweaked a few things in training. The boys work hard day in, day out, they are a great group and I can’t speak highly enough of them.

‘They have got to keep going, keep working, keep developing.

‘I have said to them, as individuals if they want to make a career in the game you have to be right at the top of everything you do, every minute of every day.

‘Be it your nutrition, your rest and recovery, your tactical, technical or physical side, all these things need to be at the top level.’