US Portsmouth boss Turnbull thankful for ‘truckload’ of football to keep everyone focussed on huge cup ties

US Portsmouth boss Glenn Turnbull is thankful for a ‘truckload’ of football across a variety of tournaments to keep minds fully occupied.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:30 am
Tyler Moret (blue) hit a hat-trick as US Portsmouth Reserves defeated Totton & Eling 5-1 at the Victory Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Turnbull was last month revealed as Dave Carter’s replacement at Moneyfields, and is planning to take a handful of his squad with him when he makes his cross-city switch.

But the former Moneys youth and reserve boss won’t be returning to Dover Road until the end of May due to US’ post-lockdown fixture list.

Coming up are huge cup ties in the FA Vase and Wessex League Cup, while US have also entered the Hampshire Invitation Cup - providing four group ties and a knockout phase.

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In addition, the reserves are top of the Hampshire Combination Premier Division and remain in the John Stimpson Memorial Trophy.

‘There is a truckload of football coming up,’ said Turnbull. ‘That’s really helpful, it keeps everyone focussed on the short-term.

‘But since we’ve come back (after lockdown) I can see everyone is fully focussed on achieving what we want to achieve.’

It will be a summer of transition at US with Turnbull keen to take the cream of his US squad to Moneyfields.

But he doesn’t expect a mass exodus from the Victory Stadium on the playing side, though he is taking four members of his backroom staff - assistant Fraser Quirke, coach Paul Barton, reserve boss Lee Mould and physio Stefan Stefan - with him.

‘Fraser, Barton, myself, Lee, we’ve grown to love this club (US),’ said Turnbull. ‘We don’t want to come back and rip the heart out of it.’

US’ first priority is planning for their massive Vase tie with Wessex Premier outfit Christchurch on Saturday week, April 17.

Their fourth higher tier Wessex scalp of the tournament would take Turnbull’s side into the last 16 and a step closer to a truly sensational Wembley final.

US returned to action last weekend with a 6-2 friendly win against a Moneyfields XI at Dover Road.

Goals came from Andy Todd (2), James Franklyn, Dec Seiden, Cameron Quirke and Dan Sibley.

It was a mix and match Moneys squad with seven first teamers from earlier in the season having followed Carter to AFC Portchester.

Chichester’s Steve Mowthorpe was one of three keepers used by Moneys, while the likes of Joe Briggs, Danny Burroughs and Rhys Lloyd also featured, while there was another guest appearance from Bognor’s Ashton Leigh.

Centre half Tom Cain was an injury absentee, but Tom Jeffes, Harry Birmingham and Sonny Harnett-Balkwill comprised the back three in the opening half, with Owen Haly, Liam Kyle and John Cass taking over after the break.

Elliott Turnbull and Josh Hazell shared left-back duties, and both got 90 minutes under their belts for the reserves in a 5-1 home win over Totton & Eling on Tuesday.

Tyler Moret, ineligible for the Vase game, struck a hat-trick and Sibley netted twice for a US side who had half-time sub Josh Smith sent off for violent conduct.

US step up their preparations for Christchurch with a friendly against Portchester at The Crest Finance Stadium on Saturday.

‘The logic of the two friendlies (Moneyfields and Portchester) is to try and replicate the challenge of the Vase game - Christchurch are ambitious and probably think of themselves as a Southern League team.

‘With respect, it wouldn’t have been much use for us to play two Hampshire League teams.’

US will train next Tuesday and Thursday, while some first team squad members could also feature in a midweek reserve game against AFC Stoneham.

US will host Division 1 rivals Bemerton on May 11 in the semi-final of the Wessex League Cup. The club’s first ever final would be on May 22, which is also the date of the FA Vase final at Wembley!