Meet Portsmouth Academy left-back poised to be next first-team newcomer as Danny Cowley turns to youth against Crystal Palace
Harvey Hughes is poised to be the latest Academy youngster to earn Pompey first-team promotion.
With injuries biting deep, the Blues are expected to turn to the second-year scholar for tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy.
The 18-year-old from Lyndhurst, New Forest, has still to make his senior debut, yet caught the eye of Cowley, who has often invited the teenager into first-team training this term.
The left-back’s next natural step is set to arrive tonight as Pompey host Crystal Palace under-21s at Fratton Park.
Hughes is pushing for selection alongside midfielder Harry Jewitt-White and defender Izzy Kaba as Cowley seeks to rotate a squad diminished by injuries and the need for resting.
Cowley told The News: ‘Depending on (the fitness of) one or two, potentially 8-10 Academy players could be involved tonight.
‘It’s nice for everybody to see the young players and it’s great for them getting that opportunity.
‘But it's just that balance between making sure they get the opportunity and also setting up your first-team players to have success as well.
‘There’s definitely a number of first-team players that, if they play well tonight, will start on Saturday. ‘We’ve got injuries so there’s going to be an opportunity for some.
‘Looking at the young lads, Harvey Hughes is a left-back or can operate on the left of a back three and has trained with us quite regularly.
‘He needs to be a bit more physical in the duel and is still learning the game from a positional and tactical point of view
‘But certainly Harvey has a nice bit of quality in his left foot and likes to go on the overlap and get around. He has a nice bit of athleticism and can cross a ball.
‘Harvey has trained with us on a pretty regular basis this year, as have Izzy and Harry Jewitt-White.’
Kaba is another who could make his Blues bow against Palace.
The defender was an unused substitute in the previous two Papa John’s Trophy matches this season, while was also on the bench at Fleetwood in the opening League One match.
In contrast, Wales under-18 international Jewitt-White has made three appearances for Pompey.
Although his sole outing this season was as a substitute in the 5-3 defeat at AFC Wimbledon in September.
Cowley added: ‘There will be a number of our first-team squad which will train again today and won’t be involved in the match.
‘They need that individual work on the training field. We’ve got to be careful, if you are just playing, playing, playing, playing then you don’t actually make any progress.
‘So you’ve got to make sure you get the initial development work which is specific to their game into their system.’
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