POMPEY ACADEMY’s youngsters can earn a shirt for their FA Youth Cup showdown with Manchester City by ending their Youth Alliance League south west losing run at Yeovil.
That’s the message from coach Mikey Harris heading into Saturday’s game at the Glovers (11am) as his side bids to bring a halt to an alarming seven-game losing sequence that began back in September.
They know that there are places up for grabs for the Man City gamePompey Academy coach Mikey Harris
It has been a different tale in the cup as the impressive Blues have seen off the challenge of Plymouth and Bristol Rovers to earn a glamour clash with City at Fratton Park on Tuesday, December 15 (7pm).
All that stands in Harris’ side’s way before the third-round tie is the weekend trip to Somerset.
And the under-18s boss has told his squad there are places up for grabs for those who can help to reverse their recent ‘poor’ league form.
Harris said: ‘The league form has been poor as of late.
‘Losing some of the more senior players to the first team and to loan moves has obviously had an impact.
‘But at the end of the day that is what we are trying to achieve – we are trying to push people on to play senior football.
‘The performances haven’t always reflected the results.
‘We are definitely not a team who should have lost the amount that we have in a row.
‘It is not for a lack of effort or anything like that but we need to show more quality.
‘We are not fulfilling our potential.
‘The lads need to get back on it because we have now got this game to put things right.
‘This is our last competitive game before the Youth Cup tie.
‘They know that there are places up for grabs for the Man City game.
‘It is important for the lads’ confidence to play well and I am sure they will want to go into that game on a positive result.’
Harris, though, dismissed the idea the Blues are keen to exact revenge on Yeovil after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Glovers earlier this season.
He said: ‘It is all about us.
‘I am not worried about getting one over on anyone else.
‘It is about the boys consistently performing to their capabilities – that is what I am looking for.
‘Whether that is against Yeovil, Man City or whoever we are playing, it is irrelevant.
‘It is about showing a consistency of performance.
‘If the lads don’t, then they will struggle to progress.
‘That is unfortunately the ruthless world of football.’
Defender Eddie Wakley will miss the trip to Yeovil through suspension after seeing red in the Blues’ 3-2 defeat to Cheltenham.