MARK KELLY has insisted Pompey Academy have the firepower to hurt Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup tonight.
The young Blues face the Premier League club’s under-18s in the third round of the competition (7pm).
Kelly’s fledgling talents have impressed during their Youth Cup campaign so far, delivering comprehensive victories over Bristol Rovers and Cray Wanderers.
But Pompey will start as firm underdogs against the Reds’ Category 1 academy outfit.
Kelly is optimistic the Blues can pull off an upset, though, and believes his side's quality in the final third will be key.
Pompey’s youth chief said: ‘The boys are relishing the game.
‘They all want to test themselves in these sort of games.
‘Saturday was a good game for us leading into it and we were carrying out what we want to do at Liverpool.
‘The boys are really excited for it.
‘One thing that we can do is score goals. We need to negate what they do and then we have the ability to hurt them.
‘All the boys are enjoying being the underdog and we have been in this situation quite a few times before in recent years.
‘Liverpool are going to be vibrant and I’m sure that they’re going to play the way that they want to play.
‘Going forward, they’ll be quite bright but it’s about how we negate that and how we go forward – it’ll be interesting.’
The tie takes place at Rugby League outfit St Helens’ Langtree Park.
Kelly admits it’s disappointing the game isn’t being played at Anfield.
He added: ‘It is a bit disappointing and I think that’s for both sets of players.
‘For their own kids, it was an opportunity for them – never mind ours – because it might be their only opportunity to ever step out at Anfield.
‘But a game is a game and you’ve got to be able to go out and play wherever.
‘St Helen's isn't exactly a rough play to go and play football, either.’