Pompey keen for FA Youth Cup fan backing

Harvey Bradley, centre, is mobbed by his Academy team-mates after his goal against Manchester City last season
Harvey Bradley, centre, is mobbed by his Academy team-mates after his goal against Manchester City last season

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Pompey are hoping to attract another bumper crowd to roar on their latest Academy talent.

Mikey Harris’ side host Eastleigh in the first round of the FA Youth Cup tomorrow (7pm).

Such encounters are traditionally well supported by a Fratton faithful keen to glimpse emerging youngsters.

Last season a crowd of 1,779 were present for the visit of Manchester City in the third round.

That total exceeds both attendances so far in the Blues’ current Checkatrade Trophy group campaign.

Inevitably, the visit of Premier League side City represented a strong lure for supporters.

However, chief-executive Mark Catlin is hopeful there will be another decent presence at Fratton Park tomorrow.

And like those who will attend, he is relishing seeing the latest young crop in action.

Catlin said: ‘It’s a good night to come and watch a good game of football played by two honest, hard-working teams.

‘Eastleigh are a well-run club in terms of their structure and I am assuming it is going to be a very good, competitive match.

‘It will be great to get a good crowd, hopefully approaching the amount which turned up against Manchester City last season.

‘Anyone who comes to these games knows they will watch some very good quality and it is a great chance to see some of our talent at that level.

‘It’s just a good opportunity to come and relax. There’s not the pressure of a normal league or cup game involving the first team, it’s just an enjoyable time to watch a good game of football.

‘It wasn’t that long ago Conor Chaplin, Ben Close, Adam May, Jack Whatmough and Adam Webster were featuring in the same competition, so it’s great to show the lads how much support there is.

‘As I have consistently said, nothing ever surprises me with Pompey fans – their appetite and passion for the game and desire to come out no matter what and get behind the team is outstanding. And long may that continue.’

Pompey’s youngsters lost 2-1 to Manchester City, Brahim Abdelkadel Diaz settling it on 81 minutes.

Tickets are priced at £4 for adults and £2 for seniors (62 or above), special concessions and those aged 22 and under.

Fans will be housed only in the South Stand, with upper sections A-C and Nelson’s Family Zone open for the occasion.