Arsenal Checkatrade Trophy tie provides key opportunity for Portsmouth players

Louis Dennis & Co will be hoping for an opportunity to get some match action against Arsenal in the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Louis Dennis & Co will be hoping for an opportunity to get some match action against Arsenal in the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Joe Gallen insists tonight’s match against Arsenal under-21s represents a huge opportunity for Pompey players to show they are sharp and ready for first-team duty.

The Blues have been on a roll, winning six matches on the spin in all competitions.

It has meant selection has largely remained a closed shop.

Some of the players who are desperately waiting to get their opportunity will be given a chance to shine in the Checkatrade Trophy match at Fratton Park tonight (7.45pm).

Assistant boss Gallen feels they will take it with both hands.

He said: ‘We have a lot of good players who are currently unable to get in the team with the team winning so consistently this season.

‘The team hasn’t really changed that much for a number of weeks now.

‘But there’s a lot of players who are willing and able to play.

‘We haven’t been losing games and they have been waiting patiently.

‘They will show what they can do. I back them to do that, no doubt about that.’

Pompey have a busy few weeks leading into the hectic run through the festive fixtures.

So this match tonight provides an important chance for a few of the players who haven’t been selected recently to get match sharpness honed.

If they are called on to step into the first team for the League One title battle it will be important to have had the game time.

Gallen added: ‘Sometimes players have to be rested or unfortunately pick up injuries during a busy period so we will need the whole squad.’