Matt Casey is aiming to catch Kenny Jackett’s eye in pre-season after signing his first professional contract with Pompey.
The centre-back has penned a one-year deal at Fratton Park, with the club holding the option of an additional 12 months.
Casey was handed his Blues debut last season in a 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy second-round victory over Arsenal under-21s at Fratton Park in December.
The 19-year-old would go on to make two more appearances on the road to Pompey’s triumph in the competition – in wins over Southend and Peterborough, respectively.
Casey reports back for pre-season duty tomorrow ahead of the 2019-20 season.
The youngster is held in high regard by Jackett, who’s previously said he has a lot of time for the defender.
Now Casey is out to keep on impressing his manager.
He told Pompey’s website: ‘I’ve got to try to keep pushing myself and looking to develop as a player. I need to prove myself to the manager.
‘I broke my collarbone early on last season and that was disappointing because it set me back a little bit.
‘But I returned from that and was able to make my debut for Pompey – I’ve just tried to keep progressing from there.
‘It was a great game against Arsenal, although there were a few nerves walking out at Fratton Park.
‘But I soon put them aside when it started and I got on the ball for the first time – I ended up enjoying it.
‘Hopefully if I improve and prove myself to the manager then the second year of the contract will come.’
Casey spent a large proportion of last season on loan at Gosport Borough in the Southern League premier division south.
He also had spells at Weymouth and Basingstoke in the same division.
Another stint in non-league is likely next term – this time higher up the pyramid.
Casey felt his time at Borough developed him as a player.
He added: ‘It helped my physically and mentally to be involved in men’s football compared to being in youth games against smaller players.’
Meanwhile, Joe Hancott, Bradley Lethbridge and Leon Maloney are all primed to sign third-year scholarships after coming through Pompey’s youth ranks.