Portsmouth triallist concern, an eye-catching glimpse of Manchester City keeper and insight into what Ipswich Town target can offer - Chelsea U23 take homes

After Pompey’s latest warm-up ended up in defeat at Chelsea Cobham’s base to the Premier League’s under-23 side. Blues writer Jordan Cross assesses what we learnt from the warm-up.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:47 pm

Number of triallists becoming a trial

It’s now 10 days until the start of the League One season - and Pompey named a team awash with triallists at Cobham.

It’s a serious concern.

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Danny Cowley is refusing to compromise on quality when it comes to signings, yet is finding himself ‘blown out of the water’ by League One promotion rivals over deals.

In the meantime, Pompey’s squad is looking light beyond the starting XI, and being supplemented by out-of-contract players trying to earn deals.

The reality is few if any of those present are likely to earn themselves long-term contracts at PO4.

The identities of Sean Goss, Renedi Masampu and Elijah Dixon-Bonner are known - with all starting against the Premier League side’s under-23 outfit, while keeper Dan Gyollai arrived from Peterborough.

Renedi Masampu is among the current Pompey triallists (Photo by Clive Howes - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

They were supplemented by two further defenders, two midfielders and a winger who came in and out of the game at various stages.

The left-footed defender who started alongside Haji Mnoga was the pick of the players, but the suspicion is none will be staying long term with the exception of Gyollai.

More of an issue is the fact they are needed to fill gaping holes in Danny Cowley’s options so close to the season.

Crackers cracks on

Ipswich Town continue to show interest in Michael Jacobs, who has stressed he is happy to stay put at Fratton Park.

At Chelsea, the winger gave a clear glimpse of what he could offer the Blues cause as he continued on the comeback trail.

Jacobs made his first start since damaging knee ligaments in April - and offered an insight in the class he can bring to the table if he stays put and stays fit.

The 29-year-old was the best player on the pitch in the first half, pulling the strings with some clever movement and prompting.

Despite operating from the left, Jacobs popped up all over the pitch and looked like a man among boys.

One pass with the outside of his right boot was a delight as it opened up the home side, and nearly got Renedi Masampu clean through on goal.

Yes, Jacobs naturally tired before his second-half withdrawal after 63 minutes, but his performance was the outfield highlight for Pompey.

Bazunu debut

Maybe slightly edging Jacobs’ display was the debut of Gavin Bazunu after a pre-season hampered by a quad issue.

Eyes were on the Manchester City loanee as he staked his claim to be first-choice keeper this term in his maiden pre-season showing.

Bazunu didn’t disappoint with a commanding performance before being replaced by Dan Gyollai after 63 minutes.

In that time the quality distribution which has much to do with his arrival was evident, as Pompey built from the back.

Also catching the eye was the speed at which the 19-year-old moved and his command of the penalty area.

For a teenager, there was no reservations about being very vocal with Bazunu’s voice constantly ringing across the Cobham training ground.

It was Gyollai who was beaten for both goals but could be faulted for neither, as he was fed a short backpass before Haji Mnoga was caught in possession late on.

One low reaction stop caught attention with both men likely to have Pompey futures this season.

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