Pompey reserves continue to defy odds
From qualifiers to quarter-finalists, not even Mikey Harris foresaw the remarkable progress of Pompey's reserve set-up.
The Blues find themselves in the final eight of the Premier League Cup as they maintain their impressive form.
As a League Two club with a Category 3 Academy, few would have anticipated such an outcome.
Following Monday night’s victory over Sheffield United, Harris’ side will now face Colchester under-23s at Westleigh Park on what is likely to be Monday, April 3.
Newcastle, Liverpool, Swansea, Brighton, Reading and Norwich also remain in the competition.
Yet none have come as far as Pompey.
Under-18s coach Harris said: ‘We were probably the only Category 3 team to enter – and certainly the only team to progress.
‘To be in the last eight of a Premier League competition as a League Two club with a Category 3 Academy is a fantastic achievement for all at the football club.
‘I think that is mainly down to the team-work between the first-team and Academy. We have a great link.
‘It sounds a bit corny, but we are as one as a football club and this competition has served to show that.
‘I felt entering the competition was a good opportunity for us to get to the group stages and have six high-quality games.
‘With those matches well-spaced with one every month, it would have been great for the players not playing for the first-team, as well as the young pros and youth lads coming through.
‘But did I expect to get through a group containing Everton, Wolves and Norwich? No!
‘I always felt we had a chance because we have high-quality young players at this football club, but when you are going up against Category One Academies that invest millions and millions of pounds it is always going to be a challenge.
‘We have met that challenge throughout the competition and must show the commitment, the desire and togetherness we’ve demonstrated in the competition so far.’
In the meantime, Pompey reserves are tomorrow in action at Bristol City (2pm) in the Central League Cup.
The Blues booked their place in the semi-finals back in January, yet have had to wait for an opportunity to fulfil the fixture.
The sides previously met in a group fixture, the Robins running out 2-0 winners.