The former Crystal Palace and Arsenal starlets handed chances to stake Portsmouth first-team claim

Expectant Pompey eyes were ready to catch a first glimpse of their new array of talent.
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And those fans who travelled to West Sussex for this summer’s first warm-up game on these shores weren’t left disappointed, as six of John Mousinho’s 10 summer signings were handed runouts against Bognor.

But it was the absence of two of the more high profile additions this summer which presented a surprise opportunity for two academy youngsters to showcase their potential.

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The expectation was Gavin Whyte and Kusini Yengi would be involved, but with both not deemed quite ready after training involvement at the start of the week Mousinho called for reinforcements.

They arrived in the shape of Sam Folarin and Koby Mottoh, who were both given 45-minute runouts at Nyewood Lane.

That capped a high-tempo display from the sizeable striking presence, who signed for the academy last December from Crystal Palace, after impressing on trial.

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Folarin led the line against the Rocks after the break and worked a couple of opportunities, as he looked to make the most of a surprise chance.

Pompey academy talents Sam Folarin and Koby Mottoh played at Bognor last night. Picture: Jason Brown.Pompey academy talents Sam Folarin and Koby Mottoh played at Bognor last night. Picture: Jason Brown.
Pompey academy talents Sam Folarin and Koby Mottoh played at Bognor last night. Picture: Jason Brown.

He finished last season with a mightily impressive 14 goals from 20 academy starts, plus four sub appearances.

Folarin is one of a growing number of Premier League academy talents being given a chance to earn a career at Pompey.

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The 2021 arrival from Arsenal gained decent exposure in the Hampshire Senior Cup last season, scoring on outings against rivals Southampton, Andover New Street and Premier League Bournemouth.

The right-sided talent started against Robbie Blake’s side last night, after finishing last season as the academy’s top scorer with 15 goals from a wing-back position.

Mottoh made the bench for Pompey in March for the league game against Port Vale, highlighting how Mousinho is keeping a close eye on his progress.

Another former academy talent who has progressed into the senior ranks this summer is Josh Dockerill.

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The defender from Camberley has been handed a senior contract and went away with the first team to Spain last week.

Dockerill, who has been with Pompey since the under-nine age group, was utilised as a right winger in a start against FC Europa last week.

He then followed that up with another outing from the outset against Bognor last night, playing 45 minutes as a right-back to continue a bright opening to his start as a senior player.