Pompey Academy have point to prove

Josh Flint in action for Pompey Academy
Josh Flint in action for Pompey Academy
Pompey hero Svetoslav Todorov returns to Fratton Park on Saturday

Pompey favourite back at Fratton Park

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Pompey Academy have a point to prove against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

The under-18s bid to put a run of five games without a win to bed when they travel to play the Pirates at Yate Town.

That’s after a disappointing 5-2 loss to struggling Cheltenham last weekend.

It came at the end of a busy week for the majority of the side, after they played against Bristol Rovers under-23s in the Central League Cup.

Academy coach Mikey Harris feels a response is needed when they face their under-18s team this weekend.

He said: ‘Where you’re judged as a footballer is in games.

‘The lads need to perform. While results are secondary to the development of the lads to staff and the club, for the lads the results are important for building confidence.

‘The best tonic when you’re not playing your best football is a positive result. That’s what we’re striving for.

‘We’re going to have a really good week’s training and prepare properly.

‘It’s three consecutive games on the road now – and we go there with a point to prove.’

Academy staff and players alike were asked to take time out to reflect on the reasons for their defeat.

Harris explained that’s not a chance to forward excuses, though.

‘We reflected on it over the weekend and Monday with the lads and staff. We asked the lads to go away and reflect, so it’s important we do it as well,’ he added.

‘The boys were going into the Cheltenham game off the back of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games.

‘The Tuesday game was the next level up in terms of being an under-23s game instead of under-18s.

‘Initially, we were very disappointed with the performance but it was the combination of a very heavy week for them.

‘The whole of the middle of our team, playing in our midfield, were first years.

‘There were five 16-year-olds in the middle of the pitch who’d played three games in seven days and have probably never done that in their lives – certainly not at that intensity.

‘So there was going to be an impact, but Cheltenham deserve credit for how they played after being on a difficult run themselves.

‘They had something to prove and it was a difficult challenge for the boys.

‘Reflectively there were probably reasons behind it.

‘We want the lads to reflect but not use excuses.’

– JORDAN CROSS