Latest Pompey prospect backed for bright future
Pompey's home-grown products have featured prominently in the elevation to play-off contenders.
And Lee Bradbury is backing the latest to emerge from the production line for a bright future in the game.
Theo Widdrington was an unused substitute on the Blues’ bench at Bristol Rovers on New Year’s Day.
An injury crisis forced the combative midfielder to be recalled midway through a season-long loan at Westleigh Park.
Under Hawks boss Bradbury, the 18-year-old had impressed for the promotion contenders, with 24 appearances and four goals.
Almost half of those outings arrived from the bench, nonetheless Widdrington had shone with the National League South side before his return Fratton Park was instructed.
The son of former Southampton and Grimsby midfielder Tommy Widdrington, the teenager has spent 11 seasons at Fratton Park and was last term the under-18s’ skipper.
And Bradbury believes the youngster possesses the talent to continue his encouraging development.
He said: ‘Theo has a very experienced head on young shoulders, which is rare in today’s world. He also has a bit of character about him, so fitted in very well with the players.
‘I’ve watched him grow up with my son through youth-team football at Pompey and he definitely has a good future ahead of him.
‘His confidence levels have probably gone up from the day he walked through the door. He believes he is a good player – which he is – and his time with us probably confirms that in his own mind.
‘Theo has been getting minutes in a team which is doing well and has certainly improved on the pitch and as well as off it.
‘I believe he’s most comfortable and effective in a holding role because he has a good range of passing, but his intelligence in the game for a young lad is also very good and he’s quite tenacious. He has a lot of ingredients.
‘He knows when to stand on the ball, when to kick it, when to play it into the corner and has a good background with his dad being a player.
‘Theo himself has been at Pompey for years and I think that shows.
‘He’s been in and out of the side depending on opposition and formations, there have been times when the team has been kept fresh, but his attitude has remained first class.
‘Theo has been a good signing for us.’
Widdrington’s last involvement with the Hawks was as an unused substitute in the Boxing Day goalless draw with Bognor.
And the side placed second in National League South would be eager for a reunion if the opportunity presents itself.
Bradbury added: ‘We would definitely take him back should the situation arise.
‘Kenny has injuries and has to do what he’s got to do to protect the team. I understand that, that’s the risk you take when having somebody on loan.
‘I would love to have Theo back, he’s versatile as well, he can play centre-half, right-back or midfield. He’s happy to play anywhere for you.’