Harris calls for investment to build on Academy success

MIKEY HARRIS has called for Pompey to build on their remarkable Premier League Cup progress by bolstering the youth set-up.

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 1:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:52 pm
Nicke Kabamba helped Pompey enjoy an excellent run in the Premier League Cup. Picture: Colin Farmery

The Blues’ reserves were defeated 3-0 in extra-time at Swansea under-23s on Tuesday night.

In an open game, the scoreline was harsh on the visitors, who gave an excellent account of themselves at the Swans’ Landore training complex.

Despite being a Category Three set-up and having to qualify, Pompey reached the semi-finals of the competition, seeing off the likes of Everton and Norwich along the way.

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It represents an outstanding achievement from a squad in which the bulk of the players are locally reared.

Michael Eisner is in discussions over a takeover and has pledged to invest in the Academy if successful.

In the meantime, the absence of a Fratton Park under-23 squad saw Harvey Bradbury last week join Watford on a two-year deal.

And Harris is eager for more Academy funding to assist their prolific production line.

Pompey’s under-18 coach said: ‘This competition has served to show the quality we have in that age group between 18 to 23 and, in my opinion, we must create a pathway for them.

‘The biggest enemy of developing footballers in this country is opportunity.

‘We have to do what we can as a football club now we are moving forward on and off the pitch. We really need to address this situation.

‘Anyone who has been to our games can see we have competed with some of the best under-23 teams in the country, Premier League clubs with Category One Academies investing millions. We went toe-to-toe with another on Tuesday.

‘We will see what the next few weeks bring regarding the takeover, the Academy is crying out for investment.

‘The focus has rightly been on promotion and getting us out of League Two. Now we have an opportunity to really set some foundation and structure at the club moving forward in all areas.’

The absence of an under-23 squad ensured Bradbury was released this summer, despite having impressed Harris.

And he is delighted the promising striker has found himself another club.

He added: ‘Harvey is one for the future for me, without a shadow of a doubt, he’s 6ft 4in, can run and has scored 14 goals this season.

‘When he has grown into his body he will be a handful and I think it’s very, very shrewd by Watford.

‘He is definitely another one that if we had an under-23s you would take in to try to give him the time to develop physically and mentally.’