Kelly: Pompey kids won’t sit back at Everton

Theo Widdrington scored a penalty in Pompey reserves' loss to Everton at Westleigh Park in October. Picture: Colin Farmery
Theo Widdrington scored a penalty in Pompey reserves' loss to Everton at Westleigh Park in October. Picture: Colin Farmery
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Mark Kelly insists Pompey reserves will go to Goodison Park with their tails up when they face Everton under-23s in the Premier League Cup tonight (7pm).

The Blues’ team will be made up of mainly academy players due to the injury problems at Fratton Park.

Pompey sit second in Group F – one point and a place above the Toffees – although David Unsworth’s outfit have two games in hand.

The visitors were also defeated 2-1 by Everton in the reverse fixture at Westleigh Park back in October.

Kelly is expecting a difficult clash against the Toffees, whose side will feature Seamus Coleman.

The Republic of Ireland international makes his return after 10 months on the sidelines, after suffering a double broken leg while on international duty in March 2017.

But Pompey’s youth chief believes his fledgling talents will learn plenty from the encounter and is adamant his troops will be on the front foot.

‘It’s going to be a nice experience for them, but we’re going to be a very young side going there,’ said Kelly.

‘It’s an inexperienced side, but like the Barnsley trip, they’ll accept the challenge and are looking forward to it.

‘The reverse fixture was a good game down here.

‘It kind of went the distance. We had some chances and they had chances but we’re two established sides at this level.

‘Whatever the game brings, it is certainly going to be a major experience for the boys going forward and I’m sure they’ll take things out of it.

‘The lads certainly won’t be on the back foot and they will give it what they’ve got and take things out of the game, which is a major part of their education.

‘We like them to have challenges and face what’s in front of them and we know Everton’s under-23s are one of the best in the country.

‘If you’re going to face these teams, they’re not bad challenges to have.’