Pompey starlets have to prove they’re a hit off the pitch, too

Tonight, Matthew, Jed Wallace will be... Eminem
Tonight, Matthew, Jed Wallace will be... Eminem
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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The Pompey youngsters have a lot to prove this season following their elevation from the Academy into the first team set-up.

But first they must display their talents in the Blues’ very own version of X-Factor.

Yes, all seven of the touring teenagers have been instructed they must enter and take to the stage with a song of their choice.

Scheduled to be held on Monday night, they must impress a demanding four-man panel headed by boss Michael Appleton.

The songs of Westlife, Bruno Mars and Ne-Yo are just some put forward by the youngsters, their selections having first required vetting by Appleton and head physio Steve Allen.

Sadly, Jed Wallace and Dan Butler’s request to perform (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life together complete with dance moves was turned down on the basis that every entry must be a solo act.

Instead Wallace has opted to take to the stage with Eminem’s Stan, the midfielder also promising to use his vocal range to reproduce Dido’s contribution.

So roll on Monday and let the judging begin.

And don’t miss The News next week for the results.

Head of performance analysis Mark Thomas is as Yorkshire as whippets and Geoff Boycott – and even allergic to the sun.

York born and bred – and mighty proud of it – the 27-year-old even regularly has Yorkshire pudding with jam for dessert.

However, it seems he has family links with a Pompey player from the past. Well, almost.

It turns out Mark’s girlfriend, Louisa, is the cousin of none other than Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips.

Yes, the same Phillips who Alan Ball predicted would be ‘the first £10m player’ and made 29 Pompey appearances between 1998-2000.

Forced to retire five years ago through chronic fatigue syndrome, Phillips currently works for the Exeter FA visiting schools and coaching.

And even now on family outings down t’mill, Phillips has plenty of interest in his former club.