Academy handed unexpected Easter break

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris   Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey eye kit supplier and sponsor unveilings

  • Pompey Academy are handed a rare weekend off
  • Peterborough unable to fulfil fixture owing to logistical concerns
  • Merit League game rescheduled for Tuesday, April 14
Have your say

POMPEY’s young guns have been handed an unexpected Easter holiday.

The Academy had been pencilled in to entertain Peterborough in Merit League 1 action on Saturday but logistical concerns forced the Posh to ask for the fixture to be rescheduled.

It’s probably a good opportunity for them to just have a little bit of a break

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris

It was a request coach Mikey Harris was happy to grant.

And he has moved swiftly to use the break to give his players a weekend away from football.

The original Furze Lane fixture has been rearranged for Tuesday, April 14.

Harris said: ‘Peterborough had concerns about coming down on a bank-holiday weekend and said they didn’t want to do that.

‘It (the original fixture) was meant to be an 11am kick-off, so they were looking at an overnight stay.

‘That brought about its own problems, what with trying to find somewhere on a bank-holiday weekend and the costs involved.

‘I am going to give the boys a little bit of a break over the Easter weekend.

‘As we all know, they have played a huge amount of games and have a huge amount more coming up in both the Merit League and development league (with the Blues’ reserves) as well.’

Tuesday’s 5-2 reserve-team defeat at Luton was the third such fixture in seven days.

And taking the past two Academy matches into consideration, that’s a run of five games in 11 days Harris’ youngsters have been eligible to compete in.

A fine balancing act has had to be carried out between Harris and reserve-team boss Paul Hardyman to ensure the players avoid burn out.

It is not just on-field obligations the scholars have to fulfil, either.

Harris said: ‘There is a huge amount of pressure on them at the moment.

‘The first-year scholars are also doing their FA Level 2 coaching qualifications as well, so there’s lots going on.

‘It’s probably a good opportunity for them to just have a little bit of a break.’

Harris, however, moved to allay any concerns following his inexperienced Blues Academy side’s freak 7-0 Merit League 1 loss at Exeter last weekend.

He said: ‘It was predominantly under-16 and under-17 players at the weekend.

‘I actually took the under-16s training on Monday night and the way they trained was excellent.

‘That’s a good response to the experience on Saturday, which was a tough one for them obviously.

‘It’s only one game, though, so we are not going to get too carried away,

‘There were a lot of factors, notably the fact the under-16s hadn’t played the 3-4-1-2 shape this season, so that was new to them.

‘It’s no big deal, it’s just an experience they can learn from.

‘Everyone has been bang at it this week.’