Brentford's Ethan Robb showed second professional chance would come after Portsmouth release during brief AFC Portchester spell
They might have spent the briefest of spells working together - but it was more than enough to convince Mick Catlin released Pompey midfielder Ethan Robb would get another chance in the professional game.
And the former AFC Portchester manager, who signed Robb during pre-season, was proved right when the versatile youngster recently joined Championship side Brentford’s B team following a successful trial.
Catlin - now without a job after being relieved of his duties at Portchester in October – brought the 20-year-old to the Royals on the recommendation of good friend and Pompey professional phase development coach, Liam Daish, last summer.
Such was the instant impression Robb made just weeks on from the setback of his Blues release, he was soon departing Portchester, to join Isthmian League Premier Division Bognor.
But even during the briefest period working with the midfielder, Catlin had seen enough to suggest he could get back into the professional ranks.
And he feels Robb's first taste of senior football while at Portchester helped him earn his recent move to Brentford B.
Catlin said: ‘Ethan came along and sort of knew that he had to go backwards to go forwards. He did all over pre-season with us played two friendlies and then, luckily for him, had the opportunity to go to Bognor with Jason Parish.
‘At that level, I’m always one to say they’ve got to go and play the highest level you possibly can.‘He’s really looking forward to getting back in the pro game and I really think he’s got a chance.
‘He’s got a great attitude, really level-headed, great ability, is a versatile player who can play a number of positions which is always good when you go to a new club. He was one I thought from day one would get back to where he needed to be.’
Catlin believes his Pompey release could have provided the youngster with the career 'jolt' he required.
He felt playing alongside men at Portchester benefitted Robb's game. But Catlin told the prospect the hard work is only just beginning as he gets set for a second footballing chance at Brentford B.
He added: ‘I think with Ethan it was the jolt he needed and I think he knew that he had to go from under-18s, under-23s, he had to go to playing with men and he got that chance with us (at Portchester).
‘It was the first time that he’d played with adults and he didn’t look out of place.
‘I think sometimes playing within your own age group, some players it doesn't suit their game, Ethan is one of those that soon mixed in with the men.
‘He wasn’t shy in coming forward and they’re all the attributes you need if you’re going in football and make an impact.
‘He did that and it shows because somebody else has noticed those attributes.
‘He’s a confident lad. One of the first things that attracted me to him in pre-season when he came in was the fact he wasn’t afraid to tell senior lads in our squad they weren’t doing it or they weren’t pulling their weight.
‘He’s only on the first step of the journey now and he’s got to make the most of the opportunity and I’m sure he knows that.
‘I wished him all the best and he really thanked us for what we did for him at the outset, which is always nice to look at players who’ve you worked with have gone onto better things.
‘It’s what you’re in it for, really, you want to see players progress.’