An inevitable Portsmouth debut while Aston Villa loanee can bolster promotion push 

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Pompey writer Will Rooney assesses the talking points from Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy…

INEVITABLE DEBUT 

Bradley Lethbridge made his Pompey debut against Spurs' under-21s. Picture: Robin Jones

Bradley Lethbridge made his Pompey debut against Spurs' under-21s. Picture: Robin Jones

Anyone who has kept track of Bradley Lethbridge’s fledgling career won't have been too surprised he was handed his Pompey debut against Spurs.

The second-year scholar has enjoyed a superb loan spell at Bognor this season.

He’s fired in nine goals in 17 appearances – one of which was a wonder strike to earn the Rocks a late draw at Leatherhead. 

Lethbridge has proved he’s more than capable of performing at Bostic League premier division level.

Gareth Evans is congratulated after he scores to make it 2-1 Robin Jones/Digital South.

Gareth Evans is congratulated after he scores to make it 2-1 Robin Jones/Digital South.

Given his form at Nyewood Lane, the forward’s maiden first-team appearance was inevitably going to happen at some stage. 

The Gosport talent displayed glimpses of his potential during his 65-minute cameo at Fratton Park. 

In the fourth minute, Lethbridge displayed wonderful vision to pick out Andre Green in space down the left. 

And in the 25th minute, he jinked his way into the box before his shot was blocked by a crowd of Spurs defenders.

The 18-year-old’s performance offered plenty of encouragement, although there are certain areas he needs to work on.

 Kenny Jackett holds Lethbridge in high regard and will no doubt continue to track his development during Bognor stint. 

EVERGREEN

It’s been a frustrating two months on the sidelines for Andre Green.

The Aston Villa loanee opted to undergo knee surgery just two appearances into his Pompey career.

It wasn’t a decision Green took lightly – especially having only played seven times for his parent club last season. 

The England under-20 international has returned from his setback, however, and featured for 65 minutes against Tottenham under-21s.

Although regaining fitness levels was his chief aim, Green also demonstrated the attributes he brings to Kenny Jackett’s side.

In the first half, the winger showed plenty of enthusiasm to get on the ball and run at Spurs’ rearguard with pace.

Green whipped in several threatening balls into the box, one of which was just headed clear with David Wheeler lurking in behind.

A goal on his return will have also boosted the Solihull-born talent’s confidence.

His equaliser in the 50th minute wasn’t the most complicated of finishes, turning in Christian Burgess’ header at the far post.

But after a two-month absence it would have been as satisfying as a 25-yard screamer. 

Green will now be eyeing regular League One starts, although he has the difficult task of dislodging Ronan Curtis.

Nevertheless, his reemergence significantly boosts Kenny Jackett’s attacking options as Pompey look to maintain their promotion push.  

HOME TIE PRIORITISED 

When Kenny Jackett made a triple substitution in the 65th minute, his intentions were abundantly clear.

The boss wanted to ensure his side were drawn at home in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy. 

With the game poised at 1-1, Matt Clarke, Gareth Evans and Oli Hawkins emerged from the bench, replacing Haji Mnoga, Andre Green and Bradley Lethbridge. 

From that point, the Blues took full control, with the experienced trio proving too powerful for the young Tottenahm side.

Evans and Hawkins were both on target, wrapping up the victory for the hosts. 

The win meant Pompey topped Southern Group D with maximum points. 

The second round of the Checkatrade Trophy takes place next month, which adds to the Blues’ already busy schedule. 

With three trips to the north west to negotiate in December, Jackett didn’t want to rack up any more miles on the road than necessary. 

Ensuring the Blues finished at the summit of their group, however, means they’ll be at Fratton Park in the last 32 of the competition.