Will Rooney looks at three talking points from Pompey’s Checkatrade Trophy draw with Fulham under-21s.
Conveyor belt keeps producing talent
It’s churned out the likes of Jack Whatmough, Conor Chaplin and Adam May in recent years.
And Pompey’s Academy looks to have produced another potential future first-team regular in Joe Hancott.
The Isle of Wight talent created Fratton Park history by becoming the Blues’ youngster-ever player aged 16 years, five months and eight days against Fulham under-21s.
Given he only signed as an apprentice seven weeks ago, Hancott produced a solid performance on the left-hand side of defence.
He was composed on the ball and charged down the left flank to put several inviting crosses into the penalty area.
Hancott also had a chance to score on his debut in the second half, but blazed a right-foot shot over the bar.
Nonetheless, it was an encouraging performance from the teenager and he’ll be desperate for another chance to show off his credentials.
Naismith best utilised in deeper role
Saturday’s trip to Oxford United must have been frustrating for Kal Naismith.
Leading Pompey’s forward line, he was given limited service at the Kassam Stadium and was unable to test the hosts’ rearguard as frequently as he would have liked.
Kenny Jackett opted to play Naismith in a deeper role against Fulham under-21s – and it is the position the former Rangers man is most effective,
He was the Blues’ stand-out player. He took his goal superbly in the 57th minute to nip in front of the highly-rated Steve Sessegnon and control Gareth Evans’ cross into the bottom corner on the half-volley.
Naismith had further chances against the Cottagers and should have finished the game with more than one goal.
Nonetheless, it was a performance from the 25-year-old reminiscent to the back end of last season when he was Pompey’s talisman on the road to League Two glory.
Naismith is at his best when he picks the ball up facing the opposition’s goal and he can drive at defenders.
Jackett has food for thought
Although the majority of fans disagree with the format of the Checkatrade Trophy, it does have some benefits.
It gave Jackett a chance to assess his fringe players against a team who have developed some high-class youngsters in recent years and fielded Wales international George Williams.
Curtis Main was a forgotten man under Paul Cook, but has given his boss something to think about.
The striker’s clever back heel found Jamal Lowe in the box for the winger to make it 1-1.
Ben Close returned from Eastleigh to find himself behind Adam May and Carl Baker in the centre-midfield pecking order.
However, the Academy product grabbed his chance against Fulham.
Particularly in the first period, he excelled in close pockets to create space and spread the ball wide.
Although Jackett’s line up for Saturday’s game against Walsall is unlikely to change drastically from that who lost at Oxford last Saturday, it has given the Fratton Park chief food for thought.