Young guns tipped for Pompey chance

113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Adam Webster. ''Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash.  ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-841)
113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Adam Webster. ''Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-841)
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They have been afforded no more than fleeting appearances in front of the Pompey supporters.

But Michael Appleton anticipates the Fratton faithful seeing plenty more of up-and-coming Blues youngsters Adam Webster and Sam Magri before the season is out.

The Academy defenders have graduated to the first-team set-up of late.

Fratton youngster Magri travelled with the Blues several times over the festive period, without making the final squad.

Meanwhile, Webster, from West Wittering, was named as one of Appleton’s seven substitutes for the third-round FA Cup clash against Chelsea on Sunday.

The duo have caught the Pompey boss’ eye after being asked to step up from the Academy to train with the senior team.

Both aged 17, it remains early days in the footballing careers of the local pair.

For Appleton, though, their progress through the Blues’ youth system has been encouraging.

Fellow home-grown pair Joel Ward and Ryan Williams both finished the Cup match at Stamford Bridge.

And the Pompey manager believes Webster and Magri can follow suit during the second half of the campaign.

Appleton said: ‘Sam is doing okay and I like the boy Adam Webster, who has been in and around us pretty much most of Christmas and New Year.

‘I think Adam is going to be a real talent, I really do.

‘I’ve got a lot of time for Sam as well. I was aware of him anyway from his England appearances.

‘I think they are the next ones that will come through.

‘They have all grown and will always be in and around my squad for the foreseeable future.

‘Who knows, they could play a big part in what happens at Portsmouth between now and the end of the season if we don’t get anybody in.

‘Obviously, it’s one thing having a small squad, but it’s another having a small squad full of injuries.

‘Touch wood at the minute, we haven’t had a massive injury crisis, but I am one of those who will always prepare for what is around the corner.

‘So I have to be mindful of that and if they have to come and train with us and play then that will happen.

‘You have always got to try to have a conveyor belt.

‘I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest conveyor belt I have ever seen in my life but I would say there are one or two in there.

‘Ryan (Williams) is part of that now in terms of being on the bench for the last few games.

‘We are sure, eventually, there will be a big part to play for Ryan, but I will pick the right time to start introducing him into the team.’

Also knocking on the senior squad door are Lewis Stockford and Lewis Tallack, who both graduated from the Academy last term.

As first-year pros, they are contracted to the club until the end of the season.

In the absence of Pompey reserve-team football, the duo have instead sought playing time via loan spells at Salisbury City and Dorchester Town this season.

Back at the club now, they continue to train with Appleton’s first-team squad.

But Appleton admitted the likes of Webster and Magri had now overtaken them in the fight for a first-team squad place.

He added: ‘The two Lewis’ are in a position at the minute where they are below the first team.

‘If I have to throw them in at any stage I will do it – but I wouldn’t start doing it if I can help it.

‘The boys Magri and Webster are more likely to step into that frame.

‘Whether Stockford or Tallack get an opportunity here or whether they do go out on loan I don’t know.

‘From my point of view, they seem to be enjoying themselves coming in at the minute and if we can get them the odd game between now and the end of the season then fine.

‘But I think the priority has to be the top end of the first-team rather than getting them games.’