The story of a new signing and his forgotten Portsmouth history

Lewis Ward has revealed the tale of his Pompey past.

Saturday, 30th January 2021, 6:30 am

The new keeper signing has told of how he has already turned out for the Blues, when emerging as a promising young keeper in 2013.

And that means he will be linking up with some familiar faces after agreeing a loan move until the end of the season from Exeter.

The 23-year-old arrives as experienced competition for first-choice Craig MacGillivray, with Alex Bass sidelined with a leg stress fracture.

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But Ward explained he’s returning to familiar terrain after a loan stay with Pompey’s academy as a youngster.

The 6ft 4in man was emerging as a promising keeper with Reading when he joined up with a Blues under-18 side, which also included players he will again be working with.

Ward said: ‘Portsmouth was actually my first loan as a youth player.

New Pompey keeper Lewis Ward (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

‘I joined the under-18 side when I was an under-16 at Reading.

‘I was around for 10 games or so from March to around May at the back end of the season

‘I was going to be playing in the 18s the season after at Reading and they wanted me to get some 18s football.

‘Coincidentally, Portsmouth had an injury at the time so I was able to go in at the back end of the 2012-13 season and play a few games.

‘There was a couple of boys in that squad who are still at the club like Ben Close and Jack Whatmough.

‘It will be nice to see them again and have a long-awaited reunion. It will be nice.

‘It’s always nice to go into a dressing room where you know of a couple of people.

‘It’s always good to have those familiar settings.’

Despite being a relative youngster in keeper terms, Ward has amassed a decent amount of first-team experience in a well-travelled career to date.

There’s been a host of loans at non-league level with the likes of Whitehawk, Sutton United, Margate and Hungerford, along with a stay in Iceland with Fylkir.

Ward has also seen game time in the National League with Aldershot and picked up league experience with Northampton and Forest Green, before joining Exeter in 2019.

He added: ‘I’ve had a number of loans now and have been put into loads of new dressing rooms.

‘I’ve had to deal with new back fours - straight on the day sometimes when you walk into a National League side.

‘You’re playing on the Saturday and it can be you haven’t spoken to any of the boys before.

‘So I’m definitely ready now when called upon.’

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