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 breakPompey 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.’