Pompey Academy is striving to become Category Two

Pompey youngster Joe Hancott
Pompey youngster Joe Hancott
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Pompey’s academy has set its sights on Category Two status.

Blues coach Mikey Harris is hopeful the youth set-up can progress towards a new grading under owner Michael Eisner.

Mikey Harris

Mikey Harris

Pompey are currently operating at Category Three level, and have performed superbly in recent years in feeding young talent into the first-team frame.

That was underlined this week, as Joe Hancott became the club’s youngest senior player at the age of 16 years and 161 days in the Blues’ 3-3 draw with Fulham in the Checkatrade Trophy at Fratton Park.

Now the hope is investment can allow the academy to develop in standing and facilities.

Harris said: ‘It was a fantastic achievement by Joe and shows there is a pathway for the boys to fulfil their potential.

‘It’s about being the best Category Three academy we can be.

‘Our productivity levels are right up there – over the last nine years, we’re ranked first from all the Category Threes.

‘We want to keep moving in the right direction and, hopefully, there will be a strategic plan moving forward to become a Category Two.

‘But you’ve got to remember we have achieved all of this on a tight budget.’

This week saw the official unveiling of the new academy set-up at Pompey’s Roko base.

Supporters dug deep into their pockets to raise a phenomenal £270,000 to fund one-and-a-half new pitches and a goalkeeping area.

The situation is particularly poignant for Harris, with his late father contributing to the scheme before he sadly passed away.

He added: ‘We’re very grateful to the fans that have put their hard-earned cash in to support the club and particularly the academy.

‘From a personal point of view, there’s a nice link for me.

‘My dad was a massive Pompey supporter and was involved in the club.

‘He passed away three years ago when this all started and he bought a share.

‘His name is on the board at the entrance and it’s nice for me to come to work every day and see his name up there.’