Pompey Academy plea to Fratton faithful

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris    Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris Picture: Joe Pepler
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Academy coach Mikey Harris has issued a Pompey plea for the Fratton faithful to back his boys this season.

The Blues’ under-18s coach would like to see supporters take in a trip to Furze Lane as part of their Saturday matchday routine.

And on occasions when Paul Cook’s first team are on their travels and the Academy are at home, such as this weekend, Harris has called on fans to get their fix of live football and discover the next Conor Chaplin in action.

Having enjoyed bumper crowds in the FA Youth Cup at Fratton Park in recent times, Pompey’s youth team are now hoping to increase numbers at their University of Portsmouth home surface, which is free for all to attend.

With Fratton Park only a mile-and-a-half away and kick-off usually 11am, Harris believes the best fans in the land can witness and inspire the next generation, before lending their vocal support to Cook’s senior side.

And the more supporters at youth-team games, the easier the transition to first-team action will be for the club’s talented teenagers.

Harris said: ‘The boys who turn pro go from playing in front of 15 to 15,000 – it is a big difference!

‘We have seen in the FA Youth Cup that it is great for the boys to play in front of a little bit of a crowd.

‘And I truly believe our fans are the best fans in the country and have a genuine interest in the lads who are coming through.

‘It would be great for them to come and see who is the next Conor Chaplin or Adam Webster, Jack Whatmough, Ben Close – we could go on!

‘We have got some talent coming through and we are quite excited about it.

‘And hopefully if we can get some people down here, they can see for themselves – that would be a great boost for us.’

Pompey Academy host Yeovil Town in the Youth Alliance League south-west division this Saturday (11am).

And with Cook’s first team on the road at Exeter, this weekend represents the perfect opportunity for fans not travelling to Devon to support the youth team.

Harris, though, explained the scheduling of fixtures at youth team level means the Blues’ youngsters playing at home on the same day as the senior side is designed to work in supporters’ favour,

He added: ‘It’s less than a couple of miles from Fratton Park and even coming down to watch the second half before the game or coming down to watch the first half before going off to the pub would be a great boost.

‘And from our point of view, we always go from our game to the first-team game so it can be done.

‘We just feel going forward it would be a real positive to get some more fans down.’

n Pompey Academy home fixtures – all 11am unless stated: Yeovil Aug 27; Exeter Sept 3 (11.30am); Cheltenham Oct 8; Swindon Oct 15; Bristol Rovers Nov 5; AFC Bournemouth Dec 3; Oxford Dec 17