Step into the unknown for Pompey kids

Pompey Academy defeated Eastleigh 5-0 in the last round of the FA Youth Cup
Pompey Academy defeated Eastleigh 5-0 in the last round of the FA Youth Cup
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Pompey take a step into the unknown as they seek to progress in the FA Youth Trophy.

Non-leaguers Metropolitan Police are tonight’s visitors (7.15pm) in the second round of the competition.

The Ryman League premier division club were handed a bye to reach this stage of the competition, yet last term provided several upsets.

They won at Football League clubs Yeovil and Burnley, before finally being eliminated by Wolves at Molineux.

With the Met not yet featured in this season’s competition, the Blues are light on information as they plan for tonight.

The winners will host Newcastle United in the following round.

And boss Mikey Harris will not be underestimating the opposition’s strength.

He said: ‘This is a very, very difficult game.

‘From what we have found out about them, they possess an excellent youth set-up and a lot of players come through to play for the first team.

‘Some of the current squad have represented their first team this season, which at the age of 17 is a significant achievement.

‘We are not knowingly underestimating our position in any way, shape or form and when you couple that with the run Metropolitan Police had last year, they are clearly dangerous.

‘Winning at Yeovil was no fluke result because it was followed up by beating Burnley, so they beat higher opposition twice.

‘Last season they had a proper run and clearly have a decent philosophy and good players in their squad.

‘However, they had a bye in the previous round – so we don’t actually know anything about them!

‘We have not been able to see them play, which brings its own challenges.

‘We’ll just have to focus on ourselves and our game plan and hopefully the boys can put it into practice as they did in the last round against Eastleigh.

‘We are going to have to make sure we are on our game and the boys are respectful of the opposition, playing the way we know we can.’

Pompey are without central defender Ousman Saidy for the fixture as he continues to serve a three-match ban following his dismissal against Eastleigh.

Jack Chandler will undergo a late fitness test, with under-16s Joe Hancott and Bradley Lethbridge called into the squad.

Pompey: Hall, McDowell, Wakley, Widdrington, Read, Bedford, Smith, Scutt, Woodward, Brooks, Bradbury, Mayes, Collins, Casey, Chandler, Hancott, Lethbridge.