Appleton pledges not to rush youngsters

Dan Butler, front, and Ashley Harris, second, get stuck in to training with the Pompey first team
Dan Butler, front, and Ashley Harris, second, get stuck in to training with the Pompey first team
Share this article
Pompey deserved their win at Fleetwood, according to Alan Knight. Picture: Mark Robinson

Knight: Well-deserved Pompey win at Fleetwood

Have your say

Michael Appleton has reiterated he won’t be rushing his Pompey Academy prospects into the first team.

The Blues boss remains short on squad numbers as he looks to battle against relegation.

To plug the shortfall, the likes of Jed Wallace, Alex Grant, Ashley Harris, Dan Butler, George Colson and Elliot Wheeler have been training with the senior side since Christmas.

They have joined Adam Webster and Sam Magri in the set-up.

Regardless of their emergence, however, Appleton is wary of damaging their progress.

Pompey’s manager believes throwing youngsters in before they are ready could hinder their development.

As a result, just three substitutes were named against Barnsley.

Although, last weekend Harris was promoted on to what was a full bench.

Clearly there is plenty of ability emerging through Andy Awford’s youth ranks at present.

For Appleton, though, they must be treated with a sense of caution.

He said: ‘Will I put youngsters on the bench? It depends.

‘I am supposed to be here to try to help and develop young people, not destroy them.

‘The pressure that is going to go into every single game we play from now until the end of the season could end up finishing one or two of our young players.

‘So I will make that call as and when I need to, dependant on how results have gone previously – maybe if it’s a home game or away game and the type of personalty. It’s all right having a kid who has lots of ability.

‘But just throwing him in to say “yeah you have got a substitute appearance”, well you have got to think of all the factors that go beyond that.

‘You can’t just put them on the bench. I want to make sure and just help build their future and not destroy it.’

Webster is the only current academy player to have featured so far.

He has made three substitute appearances.