Facing Arsenal always exciting – it’s a different kind of match for Portsmouth

Pompey take on Arsenal under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight at Fratton Park after beating Spurs in the previous round. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South/PinPep.
Pompey take on Arsenal under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight at Fratton Park after beating Spurs in the previous round. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South/PinPep.
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It certainly won’t be played in front of a packed Fratton Park but Joe Gallen believes Portsmouth’s match up with Arsenal under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy will be an exciting occasion.

The Blues will be facing some highly-rated young talents who play in a different style to the teams faced in League One.

Arsenal’s academy teams are always based around energetic, athletic and powerful prospects.

Pompey assistant boss Gallen is looking forward to seeing how the current League One leaders cope with such a task at Fratton Park tonight (7.45pm).

He said: ‘It’s not everyday you get to play Arsenal at any level.

‘I understand it will be their under-21 team but when you come up against an academy from one of the biggest clubs in the country it will be a well-funded team.

‘They will have some young and exciting players from around the UK and Europe.

‘The scope they recruit from will be a worldwide scope.

‘So playing against Arsenal is always pretty exciting. They will have an exciting team out on the day.

‘They could probably bring two teams with the amount of players they have, albeit they will be around 21 or 20-year-old players.

‘They have very good, athletic, mobile, fast players.

‘It will be exciting from that point of view. We are not used to playing against quite that style in League One. So it will be an interesting and exciting fixture.’

Arsenal could also include some experience with Laurent Koscielny one of those tipped to maybe get an important run out in his bid to return from injury.

It could add to the occasion and even though the competition doesn’t attract big crowds, Gallen is looking forward to a good night at Fratton Park.

He added: ‘It opens up because they can have some over-age players as well. Who knows who can turn up.

‘It is a powerhouse of a club, Arsenal, so any time you get a chance to play against them is always an exciting one.

‘Fratton Park under lights is always exciting. No matter how many people turn up.

‘It’s great to play at home against Arsenal too.’

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