D-Day looming for Portsmouth prospect as Blues boss weighs up future of ex-Arsenal talent

The 17-year-old has made five first-team appearances this season
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Koby Mottoh’s Fratton Park future will be decided by the end of the week.

The promising winger has spent the last fortnight with John Mousinho’s first-team squad as the Blues weigh up whether to offer him terms.

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Koby Mottoh will learn on Friday whether he has a Pompey future. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesKoby Mottoh will learn on Friday whether he has a Pompey future. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Koby Mottoh will learn on Friday whether he has a Pompey future. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

Of that crop, only Mottoh was handed hope of earning a professional deal - although that hinged on how he fared in the first-team environment during a two-week stint.

The 17-year-old has made five first-team appearances this season, all in cup competitions, although hasn’t featured since December.

Now Friday is pencilled in as D-Day for his ongoing Pompey presence.

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Mousinho told The News: ‘Koby has been training with the first-team over the past couple of weeks.

‘We have sort of left everything over the Easter weekend because it has been so busy, but we will pick it up again on Wednesday to Friday to see where we are.

‘We’ve had a big squad, so there haven’t been a huge amount of opportunities for Koby to come and train with the first-team consistently, so he’s been in and out.

‘He has played cup games but, ever since we’ve been knocked out, there have been limited opportunities for Koby to be really involved in the first-team.

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‘With the competitive nature of where we are in the league this year, it has also been difficult leaving out Gavin Whyte, Anthony Scully and Josh Martin at points. So we’ve not given Koby the exposure that maybe we’d have been able to do in a different season.

‘These last two weeks have been about us having a proper look at Koby over a sustained period before making a decision at the back end of this week.

‘We will give anybody a chance who we think is good enough to impact the first-team, we don’t mind whether it’s a kid or not. We just recognise for Academy players that’s a big jump and a difficult step.

‘We have some terrific young players at the football club, but it’s a very, very difficult step to go from the Academy into the top end of League One under the amount of pressure we’re putting on our players at the moment.

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‘The expectation from us internally on players is absolutely huge, let alone what they are facing with the entire football club and entire city as well. We have to make sure we are fair to the youngsters.’

Pompey’s pathway for youngsters has rightly been questioned in recent times, with barely any impacting upon the first-team environment.

Toby Steward remains the great hope, although the promising goalkeeper has still to feature for the Blues, instead enjoying loan spells at Gosport, the Rocks and Salisbury.

Mousinho added: ‘The pathway for some of the young Academy players has been well-publicised.

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‘The message from us is if we think a player is going to be good enough to affect Pompey’s first-team at some point, we will find the pathway. Whatever that is, whether that's a loan or staying with the first-team, there’s plenty of development to be had.

‘The biggest question at the moment, which is important with all the Academy players, is do we see this player at some point in the future affecting the first-team at the level we want Pompey to get to?

‘Sometimes we get it right and hopefully we get it right more often than not.’

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