THE Checkatrade Trophy pairing of Curtis Main and Michael Smith has boosted their first-team chances.
That is the view of Ian Foster, who was delighted with the duo’s displays having been matched as a strikeforce for the visit of Reading Under-23s.
Main scored twice in Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw, while Smith featured for the entire 90 minutes.
And Pompey’s first-team coach was impressed with their attacking contribution.
Foster said: ‘I thought Michael was a great foil for Curtis, they worked well as a strike partnership and pressed the game really, really well.
‘The players have to be ready, you never know what is around the corner, that is why we use these games, and Conor took a chance he might never have got but for Curtis’ head injury.
‘Curtis’ overall performance probably wasn’t as high as we expect in all honesty, the boy has so much talent, he just needs to channel it in the right way.
‘He can be guilty at times of losing a little bit of concentration.
‘But he’s a fabulous footballer, has wonderful technique with both feet, is brave and can link the play really well – we just need to get it all out of him in one hit.
‘Michael and Curtis have now given the manager food for thought for this weekend.’
Meanwhile, Noel Hunt was again absent through his groin problem.
The veteran striker had been expected to feature against the Royals.
Foster added: ‘Noel trained on Monday but after the session felt his groin tighten so, rather than risk him, we pulled him out of the game.
‘Hopefully that will settle down over the next couple of days and he will be available for selection for Orient.’
- NEIL ALLEN