Recalled Pompey youngsters challenged to shine

Anton Walkes returned for Pompey at Swindon. Picture: Joe Pepler

Walkes’ second debut delights Pompey boss

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Nicke Kabamba stands as Pompey’s sole player out on loan after Kenny Jackett initiated another recall.

And the returning Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain has been challenged to stay at Fratton Park beyond this season.

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain Picture: Colin Farmery

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain Picture: Colin Farmery

The 19-year-old is back from Oxford City, where he has featured on loan since September.

Utilised in a right wing-back role, Oxlade-Chamberlain has appeared regularly for the National League South outfit, earning precious experience.

However, with the Blues’ continuing injury problems, he was recalled on Friday.

He joins fellow academy products Theo Widdrington and Jez Bedford in returning to Fratton Park early from such spells away.

They have been needed – and those first-year professionals will be looking to get their break between now and the end of the season

Kenny Jackett

Although, attacking midfielder Bedford is currently out with a groin problem.

The contracts of all three expire this summer – and Jackett will monitor them during their remaining months.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Christian coming back is just about numbers really.

‘With him, Widdrington and Jez Bedford called back, they can concentrate on Portsmouth from now until the end of the season.

‘We want to have as many players around as possible because we have needed them when you look at the amount of youth-team players on the bench for us.

‘They have been needed – and those first-year professionals will be looking to get their break between now and the end of the season.

‘The contracts of the younger players are up soon, but they have to just focus on this first-team season for us and then at the end we will review their contracts.

‘The last 10 games is that time when you need to get the most out of everybody to make sure Portsmouth do well.’

Oxford City are presently 15th in National League South, the division presently topped by the Hawks.

Now in his second year as a professional at Fratton Park, Oxlade-Chamberlain was expected to line-up against Lee Bradbury’s side on Saturday before Pompey intervened.

Widdrington (Hawks) and Bedford (Poole) have also enjoyed time away from Fratton Park this season to aid their development.

Meanwhile, Kabamba remains on loan at non-league Aldershot.

However, the striker was not included in their squad for Saturday’s 7-1 defeat at AFC Fylde.