Gaffer: The Checkatrade Trophy is a wishy-washy competition, but I’m so excited to see Portsmouth at Wembley
Gaffer for a Day, Asa Harding, aged 17 from Havant, previews Pompey’s Checkatrade Trophy final with Sunderland...
I’m so excited. I wasn’t there in 2008, I was only eight at the time, so this is my first Wembley occasion watching Pompey.
I have to admit, I’ve only been to a couple of Checkatrade Trophy matches this season. It seems such a fabricated competitions with under-21 teams in it, a wishy-washy cup.
I even suspect we have sold out our allocation as retaliation for Sunderland selling theirs!
But you can't turn down Wembley, regardless of the competition. I understand the boycott, but people can be excused for having a day out, surely.
Team selection will depend on the availability of Ronan Curtis. If his finger is okay, you have to stick him in the team, while I’d also name Oli Hawkins up front.
We will have to see if Kenny Jackett has the confidence in him. He’s such a crucial player for us, although you don't really know what you are going to get from him.
Curtis is Championship quality on his day, even if inconsistent at times, and has to go on one flank, with Jamal Lowe on the other.
If he’s on the bench and available, then you might as well stick him into the starting XI.
For me, Hawkins gets the nod over Omar Bogle, especially as he caused Sunderland so many problems in the December encounter which Pompey won 3-1.
It was he who got Glenn Loovens sent off and there could be a psychological factor there.
Bogle is a great option, but Hawkins has justified selection in the last couple of games. I was at Shrewsbury and he really impressed me.
I would also name Brett Pitman ahead of Gareth Evans. Pitman has reinvented his Pompey career in the last couple of weeks, this new role suits as he’s no longer quick enough to lead the line.