Manager's message ahead of Checkatrade Trophy clash
There are several members of Pompey’s squad who have had to bide their time this season.
So Paul Cook has urged them to grab any opportunity that might come their way.
That could come on Tuesday evening when his side host a Reading under-23 outfit in the group stages of the Checkatrade Trophy (7.45pm).
Cook will be making changes for the clash, but still expects his troops to impress at Fratton Park.
The Blues boss said: “This is a great opportunity for guys in our team to say ‘I should be playing’.
“When I was growing up, we used to go along to Liverpool Reserves to watch the young lads who were coming through. I remember seeing Kevin Sheedy and his obvious qualities.
“But we’ll have a very strong team out there on the pitch and I expect us to perform well.
“I don’t know what the opposition line-up will be, but we’ll just look at it as taking on Reading Football Club.
“They’re a great model for everyone in terms of the system they’ve got and I’m sure all the young players named in their side will have aspirations of getting into the first team.
“We’ve got a clear priority this season and everyone’s aware of that, although I feel our squad is strong enough to get through this group.”
Pompey go into Tuesday’s clash on the back of successive league defeats against Blackpool and Doncaster.
Cook said: “We’re working hard on the training ground daily and making sure the lads have a clear message on how the game should be played.
“There have been good signs this season, but there has also been the bad and the ugly. We need to make the latter two infrequent and see more of the first one if we can.
“The important thing in football is that you’ve never cracked it. We’re considered a big side in this division, but that doesn’t get you promoted.
“Now we need to make sure that we back up our obvious qualities with a desire to work as hard – if not harder – as everyone we play.”
Watch Cook's thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full pre-match content.