Harris: Pompey Academy can do themselves proud in FA Youth Cup
Mikey Harris insisted Pompey Academy can do themselves proud in their FA Youth Cup first-round tie against Gillingham tonight (7pm).
The coach believes his troops must relish the opportunity of playing at Priestfield Stadium and rise to the occasion.
The Blues go into the tie on the back of an undeserved 2-1 defeat against Forest Green Rovers earlier this month.
Pompey were not composed enough in both boxes on that occasion and, ultimately, paid the price for it.
Harris revealed his side need to be more clinical in their jobs at both ends of the pitch against Gills if they’re to advance into the second round.
He said: ‘It’s a cup game and it is all about the result.
‘We’ll be treating it like a first-team game and we’ve got to go to Gillingham and get a result.
‘To do that, we have got to be better in both boxes than we have been this season.
‘We can score goals, and if we click and do score goals, we have to then ensure we keep them out at the other end.
‘I was really pleased with our last game against Forest Green.
‘The lads are full of confidence and looking forward to it.
‘It’s a great experience for them to play at a league ground.
‘Hopefully, they can do themselves justice and put in a performance they can be proud of.’
The academy have already met Gillingham this season, but suffered a 2-1 defeat at Furze Lane in the Youth Alliance League.
However, Harris is adamant the Blues are not looking for redemption – and instead his focus is on a spot in the next round.
If they return to Fratton Park with a victory, they have a favourable second-round draw.
Pompey will meet either Lewes or Camberley Town, depending on which side comes out on top of their tie.
Harris added: ‘We’re not really looking for redemption from earlier this season.
‘It’s about this game and we’re looking to get through to the next round.
‘If we do that, we’re at home to Lewes or Camberley Town in the next round and it will be nice to be at home.
‘However, we have to get past Gillingham first and that will be a big challenge.’
The Blues reached the third round of the FA Youth Cup last season, before they were knocked out by Newcastle United.
– WILL ROONEY