Pompey reveal development squad plans

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey are set to launch a new development squad.

Blues chief executive Mark Catlin has confirmed a fully-funded conduit between the Academy and first team is to be introduced as part of Michael Eisner’s vision to develop young talent.

But Catlin warned next season is too early to have the set-up operational – and putting the structure in place will be a year in the making.

Unlike previous efforts at Pompey, the plan is to have a full stand-alone squad with its own coaches and management.

Kenny Jackett will oversee bringing in the players and utilise his contacts at clubs in the London area to do so.

Catlin said: ‘What we want to do moving forward – and we don’t want to put a time-frame on it – is have a development squad where the clue’s in the name.

‘It has to be about the development of players for the long-term future of Portsmouth Football Club.

‘To do that properly it requires a dedicated manager, assistant manager, structure and funding.

‘It’s not something which will happen overnight – it will take a lot of planning.

‘I would argue it’s a year in the planning.

‘That’s in scouting the players you want to bring in, selecting a coach and the organisation.

‘There’s a lot of investment needed to make it a fully functioning, self-sustaining squad.

‘Next season is too soon but with regard to the season after, it won’t be.

‘If you look at Kenny’s history, he has a fantastic record of signing players, developing them and making them better.

‘He has outstanding contacts around London with the big clubs and their development squads who he’s worked with.

‘He’s highly regarded and it will be easy for him to attract those type of players to Portsmouth.’

Catlin stressed it’s imperative the development squad is about bringing talent through rather than storing players not featuring in the club’s first team.

He said: ‘A lot of clubs have a development squad but it’s not.

‘It’s effectively an ill-thought way of accommodating players who aren’t in the first team.

‘What do you want from your squad? If it’s a reserve team it’s clear it’s for the first team and to keep people fit and ready underneath that.

‘In our case we believe it’s a platform for developing not only our own talent but talent discarded by Premier League or Championship clubs.

‘Plus there are players like Jamal Lowe who have slipped through the net and are playing non-league football.

‘We want to give them a platform, be part of the squad and progress into the first team.

‘If and when we do it, the one thing we can be sure of is it will be well structured, thought out and with a clear strategic plan of the make-up of the squad and what we want out of it.’