In previous transfer windows, Danny Cowley has made no secret about recruiting prospects from the top-flight on loan to add hunger and a rawness to his squad.
And there have been a number of fledgling stars who have impressed throughout the 2021-22 EFL Trophy campaign already.
On Tuesday night, Aston Villa under-21s journey came to an end against Charlton as a Jayden Stockley penalty proved decisive in the 2-1 victory for the Addicks
But one name who stole the headlines for the young Villains was Cameron Archer, who proved prolific across the group stages. The 19-year-old scored six goals in the three group game victories for Mark Delaney’s side.
As a result, he’s been rewarded with three Premier League appearances this term but is yet to net in top-flight football.
Joining the striker by increasing his profile during the Papa John’s Trophy is Brighton’s Lorent Tolaj.
The 20-year-old’s goal record isn’t as eye-catching as his Premier League 2 counterpart, but his tally of two in three is still decent nonetheless.
He netted a decisive equaliser against Forest Green in a 2-2 draw, before penalty defeat, and repeated the trick in the next matchday by bagging a last-minute winner against Northampton.
Another position on Cowley’s January shopping list is in defence, with Pompey blighted with injury and suspension problems.
One of the Premier League youth teams benefiting from a strong backline is Chelsea.
The Blues under-21s are one of the first teams through to the second round of knockout fixtures with a penalties victory over Forest Green.
And a big part of their success is thanks to the performances from centre-back Xavier Mbuyamba. The Dutchman has played the entirety of the campaign so far and has looked classy throughout.
He registered an assist during the opening draw, and subsequent penalty shootout victory over Exeter - and showed quality above his years in the success against Bristol Rovers.
But with Thomas Tuchel’s world-class defence at Stamford Bridge, he’s yet to make his debut for the Londoners.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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