Portsmouth back in cup action – after 31-year absence

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The Hampshire Senior Cup is back on Pompey’s fixture list – more than 31 years after their last appearance.

Kenny Jackett has granted the go-ahead for the Blues’ return to a competition they pulled out of in 1987.

Kenny Jackett's side return to Hampshire Senior Cup action tomorrow night. Picture: Joe Pepler.

Kenny Jackett's side return to Hampshire Senior Cup action tomorrow night. Picture: Joe Pepler.

And their comeback is marked with a second-round trip to Andover New Street tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Pompey were holders when they quit the competition, having defeated Road Sea 2-0 at Fratton Park in May 1987.

Yet, following promotion to the top flight that same season, manager Alan Ball scrapped future involvement.

Now their presence kicks off once again, with Mark Kelly overseeing a young side taking on the Wessex League premier division’s bottom club.

Jackett said: ‘It’s something the club were keen to support and we want to put in as strong a side as we possibly can.

‘It will be mainly young but, similarly for any reserve game, if we need to give any of our first-team squad games then we will.

‘We certainly won’t be fielding our first team, there is no doubt about that, and predominantly the team will be young, but we won’t hesitate putting people in there who need to play.

‘It very much depends on injuries, people coming back from them and whether they need matches, that sort thing.

‘This competition will also help us with bringing on young players and giving them opportunities to show what they can do.

‘It can be very helpful on a number of fronts for us.’

During his time as Swansea boss, Jackett was involved in the Welsh Cup, while his Wolves team featured in the Birmingham Senior Cup.

The Hampshire Senior Cup represents handy timing for the Blues, following their elimination from the Premier League Cup at the qualification round by Plymouth.

In recent seasons, the under-23 competition has presented Pompey’s reserve side with at least six matches from the group stage.

In May 2017, they reached the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup, losing to eventual winners Swansea at the Premier League club’s Landore training ground.

Now there’s an opportunity for the reserves to test themselves in the Hampshire Senior Cup, a trophy presently held by the Hawks.

Lee Bradbury’s National League-bound side defeated Blackfield 3-0 in April to claim it for the second time in three seasons.

When Pompey won the trophy in 1987, Paul Birch and Lee Russell scored in the final, with Kevin Ball skippering the team.

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