Pompey looking for history to repeat in cup

Nathan Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing
Nathan Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing
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Pompey are aiming for more of the same in the Premier League Cup.

The Blues hope to repeat their impressive run in the competition last season as they take on Southend tomorrow night at Westleigh Park (7pm).

Nathan Thompson is pencilled in for a return in the qualifying tie, after being sidelined with a foot problem he picked up in pre-season.

Pompey beat the Shrimpers at the same stage last term to reach the group round of the under-23 competition.

They went on to deliver a fine string of results to reach the semi-finals before losing to Swansea.

Blues Academy coach Mikey Harris is out for more of the same.

He said: ‘It was a great experience for the lads last year.

‘You can look at the likes of Adam May, Ben Close, Brandon Haunstrup and Conor Chaplin who played regularly. They are now starting in the first team.

‘Nicke Kabamba came in at the end of last season and was involved. He came on for the first team on Saturday and had a positive impact.

‘Jamal (Lowe) did well in the competition when he signed and is now pushing on in the first team. Jack Whatmough and the likes of Liam O’Brien are others.

‘It gives young players a chance to showcase their talents in a competitive, high-quality environment.

‘It certainly served its purpose last year, but it’s slightly different this time.

‘We’ve got a smaller first-team squad so there’s a different dynamic to it all.

‘Hopefully, we can get through this game and look forward to the group stages.

‘If not, that’s it! Having said that, we have a contingency plan for the group.

‘But we are focusing on the game and getting a positive result.’

It’s going to be a young side who aim to progress with Thompson wearing the captain’s armband as the elder statesman.

Harris added: ‘We’re looking forward to it.

‘It’s a squad of young pros and youth-team lads.

‘I think the gaffer has said Nathan Thompson will play, which is part of his rehab.

‘Thommo will lead the team out and will be looking forward to getting out there.

‘It’s a one-off game to stay in the competition and will be a tough challenge.

‘They are a proper outfit in terms of a specific under-21 squad and we’re not.

‘But we’ll go in with confidence and we are looking forward it.’