Calvin Davies will be back to lead the Pompey under-18’s FA Youth Cup challenge when they travel to Plymouth tonight (7pm).
The promising right-back made his Blues first-team debut in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy loss at Exeter earlier this season and has been out on loan at the Hawks in recent weeks.
But the under-18 skipper has been recalled for the game and leads a side that will also include goalkeeper Alex Bass, midfielder Adam May and another loanee, Liam Sayers, who has been out at Dorchester.
Under-18 boss Mikey Harris said: ‘It’s a bit of a shame for Calvin Davies, I guess because he would have played for Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup at Cheltenham.
‘As he’s our captain, Lee Bradbury always knew he would play for us in this game but he was brilliant about that.
‘That’s why we are careful where we send young players.
‘A lot of the lads have been with the first team and a lot have been out on loan so it’s an opportunity to get the squad back together again.
‘Aside from Dory Yates, who is out injured, we’ve got the whole group back together and we hope for a repeat of last season.
‘Because they are out on youth loans, they can come back to us as and when, which is a great system and is really good for the development of the lads.’
The Pompey young guns reached the third round of the competition last season, eventually going down 1-0 to Bolton at Fratton Park.
But Harris is hoping for a repeat performance after this troops eased past Plymouth 4-0 in the same fixture last term.
He added: ‘We won 4-0 last season but that means nothing.
‘Plymouth have got some very good young players and this will be a real challenge.
‘This is one of the few experiences for the lads over the course of the season where it’s all about winning the game.
‘If you don’t win, you are out of the competition and it’s as simple as that.
‘So this is where we start to treat it a bit more like a first-team environment and the pressure is on.
‘I don’t think it’s healthy for them to have the pressure every week as they develop.
‘If they want to get to where they want, they will have to perform under pressure.
‘This gives them a real tangible experience of having to get a result. It’s a good challenge for them.’
– STEVE WILSON