Pompey v Reading under-23s: Gaffer for a day

Steve Tovey, 57, from Fareham gives his thoughts ahead of Pompey's clash with Reading under-23s at Fratton Park...

Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:35 pm
Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler

This cup is a farce, it’s an experiment by silly people in the Football League who don’t know what they are doing. It’s a political tool.

They have ruined the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for lower-league clubs.

As far as Pompey are concerned, people have a right to protest, but the biggest protest should not be against this trophy – it should be for the Whole Game Solution.

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That affects Pompey, whereas this trophy does not affect us, especially now B teams will no longer be allowed into any league.

Anyhow, this competition remains ridiculous. Reading under-23s can field who they like, whereas we will be fined for rotating the squad, it doesn’t make sense.

I will be attending, though, and was at the previous lowest Fratton Park post-war attendance – 2,318 in August 1993.

I don’t remember it being the smallest crowd, but as both my cousins support Bristol City and went with me to that match, it is ingrained in the brain.

I went to Yeovil in the previous Checkatrade Trophy, but I will go and watch anything. I have been to two youth games on the morning before Fratton Park matches this season – I just want to watch Pompey.

I don’t understand the protests and have already had this out with people. I respect their right to protest but they are protesting against the wrong thing. If it was a march against the Whole Game Solution then I would be there.

Tonight is just a game of football, the actual result is not a worry, this is nothing more than a friendly. It will give players a run out to get match minutes into their legs.

Looking at the players, I think Noel Hunt should be ahead of Curtis Main and Michael Smith – and I expect all to get the chance to play tonight.

My starting XI

Liam O’Brien

Adam Buxton

Jack Whatmough

Matt Clarke

Brandon Haunstrup

Ben Close

Adam May

Kyle Bennett

Kal Naismith

Michael Smith

Noel Hunt