Young crop start search for new clubs

Pete Gregory is one of the raft of players released by Pompey
Pete Gregory is one of the raft of players released by Pompey
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Jamal Lowe. Picture: Mark Robinson

Pompey v Blackpool: pre-match talking points

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They were the young crop of talented youngsters who didn’t quite make the grade in Steve Cotterill’s eyes.

Marlon Pack, Tom Kilbey, Pete Gregory, Perry Ryan and Ellis Martin all ended their association with Pompey last week.

Meanwhile, Billy Goddard will soon be following them to pastures new when he completes his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Cotterill admits it was a tough decision to allow them all to further their careers away from Fratton Park.

But he insists he had to be cruel to be kind in the hope they will go on to make a decent living from the game in the future.

It must surely be among the most difficult part of being a football manager when you have to inform young players their dreams of first-team progression are over at their current club.

But plenty have responded positively to rejection at one club to forge careers elsewhere.

And Cotterill is hopeful that will be the case with the latest crop to fly the nest.

The Blues boss said: ‘I just feel they are young lads who I could end up keeping because they are great lads and I love all of them.

‘But this isn’t about keeping players that you like.

‘It’s about keeping players who you think are going to play in your team and I don’t think that is the case unfortunately.

‘So now the hope is that they can get fixed up with another club and get some football because that’s what they need and we wish them well.’

Pack impressed on loan at Cheltenham in the second half of the campaign, while Kilbey spent a difficult spell at Lincoln City as they were relegated from League Two.

But while those five will now be attempting to secure deals elsewhere, Goddard will stay with Pompey to continue his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury.

Cotterill said: ‘Billy will be staying with us a little bit longer because he is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

‘He is back running now so he’s doing very well.

‘He won’t be staying but I think we have a duty of care to look after a young boy like that and when we do let him go, he can go back out and play football again.’