Robbie Blake believes Portsmouth Academy forward one to keep an eye on
Robbie Blake heaped praise on Leon Maloney after he played a key role helping Bognor reach the Sussex Senior Cup final.
The Pompey Academy forward was on target in the Rocks’ 5-1 rout of Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s on Tuesday.
The Isle of Wight-born talent delivered an eye-catching performance throughout the last-four clash at Nyewood Lane, with fellow Blues loanee Bradley Lethbridge also netting.
Maloney has featured eight times for Bognor this season, with his effort against the Seagulls his first for the club.
He also made his Pompey first-team debut at Southend in the Checkatrade Trophy in January.
Blake admits some Rocks fans have questioned when the second-year scholar would starting showing the impressive form he has for Mark Kelly’s under-18s.
But the first-team coach believes Maloney underlined his quality against Brighton.
Blake told bognor.co.uk: ‘People have been wondering whether Leon Maloney was going to come out of his skin.
‘There is definitely a player in there.
‘He’s not come up to the physicality of the Bostik League but he’s one to keep on the right side, trust me.
‘He’s a very good player and once he grows a bit more and gets more confidence.
‘He scored a very good goal and came into his own then.
‘Leon has got electrifying pace, good ability and can finish.’
Maloney’s scholarship expires at Pompey this summer, along with Lethbridge, Freddie Read, Joe Hancott, Joe Dandy, James Whiting, Josh Flint and Oscar Johnston.
It’s still to be announced who will be kept on at Fratton Park.
Regardless of his situation, Blake is hoping to retain the services of Maloney next season.
The former Blues coach added: ‘He’s going to be a real plus for us if we can sort something out with him, hopefully.’