Portsmouth weigh up affiliate club outside England to aid players' development
Pompey have been weighing up forging a partnership with an affiliate club outside of England to aid the progress of their fledgling talents.
The Blues had been contemplating resurrecting a development squad after the League One salary cap was implemented at the start of the season.
What’s more, plans had been pencilled in to enter a reserve league this campaign before it was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the wage ceiling has been withdrawn following an independent arbitration panel ruling, Pompey are still keen for as many homegrown players to advance into the first team as possible.
Jack Whatmough, Alex Bass, Ben Close and Haji Mnoga are all products of the Fratton Park youth system currently in Kenny Jackett’s squad.
Meanwhile youngsters such as Harry Kavanagh, , Alfie Stanley, Harvery Rew, Charlie Bell, Harry Jewitt-White and Harrison Brook have all featured in this season’s Papa John’s Trophy campaign.
Sections of fans have long clamoured for Pompey to have an under-23s group so their promising prospects get regular games under their belts.
However, speaking to the Tony Goodhall Fans' Conference, chief executive Mark Catlin revealed a feeder team ‘in the next 3-4 years’ for youngsters to join on loan is a more likely direction of travel.
And the Blues CEO admitted that outfit could well be overseas.
Catlin said: ‘In the next 3-4 years, we’re more likely to go for an affiliate club than a development squad.
‘Development squads essentially just play friendlies week after week.
‘We could work with a local club to get 3-4 players out on loan at the same time for competitive football instead.
‘An affiliate club, maybe not even in England, is maybe the way forward.’
Pompey have traditionally sent youngsters out on loan to local non-league clubs.
This season, third-year scholars Stanley, Kavanagh, Eoin Teggart and Gerard Storey have spent time garnering experience away from Fratton Park.
The former had a spell at Bognor, while the other three were sent out to Gosport Borough.
The shutdown of non-elite sport amid the Covid-19 crisis has meant the quartet have been unable to rejoin either the Rocks or Borough since the turn of the year.
However, Teggart and Storey have completed loan switches to Cliftonville and Carrick Rangers respectively in their native Northern Ireland in a bid to aid their development.
Last week, Blues boss Kenny Jackett pledged to ‘err on the side of caution’ when deciding if any of his starlets possess a Fratton Park future.
He revealed Pompey will take into account the restrictive footballing environment which has hampered the club’s current third-year scholars.
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