Portsmouth coach sets academy players lofty challenge after Hampshire Senior Cup victory against Basingstoke Town
Liam Daish has challenged Pompey’s academy prospects to make the grade after their taste of senior football.
The Blues progressed into the third round of the Hampshire Senior Cup with a penalties victory over Basingstoke Town on Tuesday night, and are using this season’s campaign to hand valuable experience to academy hopefuls.
First-team boss Danny Cowley was in attendance at the Winklebury Sports Facility, and Daish explained what his young players need to do to make the step up into the first team.
The professional development phase coach said: ‘They need to impress the first team manager, and there have been more chances this season to do so.
‘A couple of the lads have gone on and been involved in other senior games this season, too.
‘A few were involved against AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy, and you can’t replace the benefits of being more exposed to senior players and the effect it has on the younger players.
‘For some of them, it was the first time they really exposed themselves to the first-team manager.
‘There’s more opportunities off the back of tonight, whether that be coming in and training with the first team and getting in and around really good pros as well.
‘Hopefully they can be inspired when doing so, and see that that’s the level they need to be at and beyond.’
As an youth-team graduate himself, Daish recalled his history with the Hampshire Senior Cup as an academy player.
He added: ‘I remember being in this competition as an apprentice at Portsmouth, and we actually won the Hampshire Senior Cup.
‘We were playing alongside players like Kevin Ball and other older players, and it was an invaluable experience.’