Ex-Pompey youngster bidding for Fratton return
Ex-Pompey full-back Elliot Wheeler has been given the opportunity to win a return to Fratton Park.
The Isle of Wight right-back is a free agent following two years at Stoke.
He joined the Premier League side from the Blues in the summer of 2013 after coming through the ranks, latterly under Paul Hardyman.
Now, following a loan spell at Nuneaton Town, Wheeler is looking for another club and yesterday was included in Pompey’s reserve clash with Cambridge.
The 21-year-old laid on a 51st-minute headed equaliser for Snorre Nilsen with a cross from the right in a 1-1 draw at Furze Lane.
That cancelled out Jake Chambers-Shaw’s 17th-minute opener for the visitors.
Wheeler was joined in the starting line-up by fellow triallists Matt Long and Ed Sanders, while Andover midfielder Cameron Hough was on the bench.
And Hardyman is running the rule over the youngsters on the chance they could potentially strengthen the Blues moving forwards.
He said: ‘We have some good young players in our system but are not scared to look at others – you have to keep that door open.
‘Elliot is out of contract. Obviously, we have been looking for a right-back so have given him the chance to come in, see how he has improved and if he can fit into our first-team squad.
‘Yesterday was a bit difficult because the pitch was a bit bouncy and lively, although he showed good attitude.
‘But we will be looking for him to step up from being ‘okay’ and will probably give him another reserve game next week and see if he can do that.
‘Anyone who is Elliot’s age needs to be coming in and ready for our first-team, that’s the challenge.
‘We play Cambridge at their place next week and can get that videoed also, so the new manager can look at that if he wants to.
‘Matt Long is a left-back from Bristol City who was recommended to us and did okay, comfortable in possession and quite athletic.
‘But, again, you are looking for him to be better than Brandon Haunstrup – who we like – and above him Dan Butler.
‘Ed Sanders was released at under-16 level by us and has since been with Stoke for two years and then Sheffield Wednesday as a first-year pro, so we have looked again. We’ll see how it goes.’
POMPEY RESERVES; Poke, Wheeler, Field, Sanders, Long, Nilsen, Rwakarambwe (Hough 15 mins), Granger, Haunstrup, Chaplin, Tarbuck.