Pompey coach aiming for Newcastle Cup shock

Mikey Harris
Mikey Harris
Ben Close battles for possession against Southend.

O'Keefe impressed with Pompey rival

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THE favourites have become the underdogs – and Mikey Harris will implement a new gameplan to ensure Pompey can adapt.

The Blues’ under-18s have so far seen off Eastleigh and Metropolitan Police in the FA Youth Cup.

Entertaining both of the non-leaguers at Fratton Park, along the way the youngsters have totalled seven goals and are yet to concede.

Now Newcastle United are booked in for a visit tomorrow night (7pm), inevitably representing a large leap in quality.

Suddenly a Pompey team expected to win are served with the challenge to avoid defeat.

The mindset must be changed, the blueprint has to be altered, yet Harris remains optimistic the hosts can prompt an upset over the Toon.

The Academy coach said: ‘Our first two games in this competition are going to be very different in comparison to tomorrow night.

‘The boys gained a lot from those experiences, but I cannot see Newcastle coming down and sitting back, trying to contain the game.

‘They are a massive football club which possess a Category One Academy and will be coming as firm favourites, rightly so because they have quality players.

‘We will have to be at our absolute best and they will need to have an off-day for us to get a result but, at the end of the day, this is a cup competition and anything can happen on the night.

‘Still, our gameplan is something which we would have to look at.

‘We have to give them the respect they deserve and possibly may introduce a few changes to make ourselves more solid and ensure we stay in the game for as long as we can.

‘As an underdog in a cup competition, the longer you can stay in the game the more the pressure mounts on the favourite.

‘We saw that last year with Manchester City visiting at the same stage and I think it worked pretty well, with us staying in the game at 1-0 down.

‘Then we equalised and Man City had a little wobble.

‘We could have nicked it, but their quality showed towards the end.

‘We always feel we have a goal in us as a team and, while we are in the game, there is always that chance of scoring.

‘We will be working really, really hard to try to cause an upset against Newcastle.

‘Who knows, maybe we can sneak a result on the night with the backing of the Pompey fans because they can make a huge difference.

‘I think it will be an excellent game and hopefully we can do our best to cause some sort of upset to progress.’