Pompey talent hails crucial assistance

Ashley Harris is grateful for the input of Brian Howard. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-968)
Ashley Harris is grateful for the input of Brian Howard. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-968)
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Ashley Harris thanked experienced midfield duo Brian Howard and Darel Russell for taking him under their wing.

The lack of financial muscle at Pompey has dictated it has been a time of wholesale change.

Harris, 18, is one of few faces remaining at the club from last season in the Championship.

Michael Appleton signed on a whole new team in the days prior to the first League One match of the campaign.

Among the names to pen a short-term deal was midfielder Brian Howard, formerly of Sheffield United, Reading and Millwall among others.

At 29, the Pompey skipper is more than 10 years older than Harris.

He’s since been joined in midfield by 31-year-old Darel Russell.

And for the likes of Harris and fellow Academy graduate Adam Webster, 17, having the experienced pair around is vital.

Harris said: ‘The team has changed a lot since last season but the quality is still there.

‘People are still trying to help me.

‘The older players are helping me out, and also helping Webby and the other youngsters, so it’s good.

‘Brian, the captain, seems to help you out a lot and Darel in midfield also helps a lot – especially on the pitch.’

Harris further cemented his hero status among Pompey fans with the opening goal in the win at Crawley, after coming off the bench.

Now he’s targeting a starting role.

And the boyhood Blues fan will be keen to follow Howard and Russell’s lead.

He added: ‘I feel I can learn off them, they guide me on how to go about things in a professional manner.

‘I want to try and get into the starting team.

‘Hopefully I have done enough but, if not, I will just keep working hard.’