Whirlwind six months as Portsmouth continue academy overhaul

Pompey's head of academy performance and recruitment Dave Wright
Pompey's head of academy performance and recruitment Dave Wright
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Dave Wright reflected on a whirlwind six months following his Pompey return.  

And the head of academy performance and recruitment is confident the Blues can cement their standing as the club with the best youth productivity in English football after returning to Fratton Park.

Wright linked up with the academy in February, rejoining the outfit he came through the ranks with as a youngster.

It’s been a frenetic period for the 38-year-old which has seen him begin a huge overhaul of the structure in place.

Wright has helped recruit a massive 130 players this summer, as well as bringing in 34 hopefuls on trial with heavy work on recruiting players aged between six and 12 as well as rebuilding the scouting network.

Match analysis has been revamped with work on building game and training time for youngsters.

Adding a development centre to bridge grass-roots and academy level has also been on the agenda.

Wright said: ‘It’s absolutely flown. It doesn’t feel like two seconds.

‘But when you look at what we’ve done over six months, we’ve achieved quite a lot.

‘There’s been an awful lot of operational changes.

‘It’s been a case of looking at what we’re doing and how we’re operating the programmes we’re delivering.

‘The bulk of the work is recruitment but I’m also helping Mark (Kelly) oversee the operational side of the academy.

‘We’ve revamped the whole set-up and reintroduce things which were there in the past, but because of circumstances at the club it’s deteriorated.

‘We’ve worked hard on building a network of scouts out spotting and contacts I’ve re-established.

‘It’s been hard work - but enjoyable work.’

An academy audit confirmed Pompey’s position the leader in English football for bringing players through into the first team.

Wright added: ‘We’ve got the best productivity in the country at this club. That’s something to shout about.

‘The facts don’t lie. We got the top audit score possible.

‘In terms of player production there is that pathway. That’s a massive tool to attract players.

‘The historical route into the first team and professional game is there.’