Pompey encouraged by Hyam unveiling

Dominic Hyam. Picture: Mick Young
Dominic Hyam. Picture: Mick Young
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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It took almost two weeks for Dominic Hyam to make his Pompey entrance.

And first-team coach Ian Foster believes the central defender’s eventual unveiling augers well.

The training is obviously all geared around the XI and, as a defender, he’s probably looked at the first team thinking it is going to be difficult to get in

Ian Foster

Signed on transfer deadline day in a loan deal struck with Reading, Hyam’s arrival was initially delayed by Scotland under-20s duty.

He then couldn’t break into the squad for last weekend’s visit of Wycombe, as Paul Cook elected to retain a winning match-day 18.

Blues fans at last caught a glimpse of the 20-year-old’s talents in Monday night’s Premier League Cup victory over Barnsley.

Partnering Matt Clarke in the centre of defence, Hyam played the full 90 minutes in the reserve team’s impressive 2-0 win at Westleigh Park.

And Foster has been encouraged by the former Dagenham & Redbridge loanee’s early impact.

He said: ‘I felt Dom played really well against Barnsley.

‘He is very, very comfortable defensively and handled the ball very well, as you would expect from a Reading player.

‘We would also like to thank Reading for allowing him to play, as we had to ask their permission to appear in this competition.

‘I thought he was excellent and worked well alongside Matt Clarke. It was a really positive display from him and credit to the lad.

‘It’s difficult for him, he has come here, doesn’t know anybody and is a young boy, so this is all an experience for him.

‘The training is obviously all geared around the XI and, as a defender, he’s probably looked at the first team thinking it is going to be difficult to get in.

‘When he came in we had won three on the bounce with three clean sheets, so it is only natural he thinks that way.

‘But if he continues to play like that then he will give himself a chance.’

That triumph over the Tykes ensures the Blues have now reached the group stages of the Premier League Cup.

They will face Everton, Norwich and Wolves in home and away fixtures, consisting of six matches.

And Foster was delighted with the attitude of the reserves in the match which put them there.

He added: ‘If you’re going to have a complaint it is we didn’t score three, four or five but you are nit-picking really.

‘Matt Clarke has now played 61 minutes in the Checkatrade Trophy, had 90 minutes on Monday and that’s great for him.

‘He has been out for four or five months and had no pre-season, so these are now fabulous match minutes for him.

‘Our two central midfielders (Adam May and Ben Close) had a little bit of bite in them – they can both play football – and the movement and energy up front and off the sides was great.

‘We had Kyle Bennett running back, Noel Hunt chasing down defenders and Kal Naismith going up and down the line for 90 minutes.

‘Everyone enjoyed that game and had a smile on their face.

‘They have earned the right to play the likes of Everton, Wolves and Norwich, which is fabulous for our club because we deserve to play against these teams.’