Confidence high in Pompey Academy camp ahead of Cup tie

Pompey Academy celebrate a goal against Newport. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Mikey Harris revealed confidence is sky high in the Pompey Academy camp heading into their FA Youth Cup second-round tie against Lewes at Fratton Park on Friday night (7pm).

The Blues battled to a 2-1 extra-time victory against Gillingham in the first round of the competition last week.

Harris’ troops built on that effort to record a second successive win, defeating Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at Furze Lane on Saturday.

The coach is relishing the clash against Lewes – but insists Pompey are not underestimating their non-league opponents.

He said: ‘The lads are in a really good place as a group – probably the best place they’ve been in since the start of the season.

‘We have got players in good form and confidence is high.

‘Our focus is on development of the lads and helping them to improve.

‘However, a desire to win has to come into that.

‘Winning breeds confidence and allows players to express themselves more and reach higher levels.

‘Lewes are in the second round on merit.

‘They’ve obviously had to play more games than us and that will give them a lot of confidence going into the tie.

‘I have no doubt they will raise their game, they are a strong outfit, had some good results this season and we will give them the respect they deserve.’

Many of the Blues’ fledgling talents will be making their Fratton Park debuts.

Harris expects his side to enjoy the occasion and is adamant his players will cope fine.

‘It’s a dream for the young lads to play at Fratton Park,’ he added.

‘Some of the boys experienced it last season, but for some of the first years it’ll be their first experience.

‘It’s something they would have dreamed about since joining the academy and an occasion we’re looking forward to.

‘It’s about making sure the lads are in the right place and have the right mentality.

‘That shouldn’t change if you’re playing at Fratton Park, Furze Lane or anywhere else.

‘They have to be consistent in their approach.

‘Part of their development is learning to deal with the emotions that come to this sort of occasion.

‘They’re going to need to handle these sort of occasions because an FA Youth Cup game at Fratton Park is still a watered down version of what it’s like on a Saturday.’

More from Sport