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HARRIS PROUD OF YOUNG BLUES

2 May 2017

Reserves impress despite cup exit

Pompey have confounded expectations with their progress in the Premier League Cup this term.

The young Blues started in the qualifying stages back in August and saw off plenty of higher-ranked sides to reach the semi-finals.

That is where the adventure ended, however, as they conceded three extra-time goals to lose at Swansea.

It was a harsh outcome for the visitors, who carved out a host of excellent opportunities during an entertaining contest in Wales.

But despite missing out on a place in the final, Mikey Harris was full of admiration for his young charges.

Pompey’s lead professional development phase coach said: “I’m proud of the lads. They’ve been outstanding throughout the tournament and competed with category one academies.

“We went toe-to-toe with a very good Swansea side, who have a 100 per cent record at their training ground.

“You could see why because they’re a fantastic team, but we felt that we matched them – especially in normal time.

“It could have gone either way and it was going to be a case of who would score the first goal.

“We had chances and Swansea put their bodies on the line, but all of our boys have put in an incredible shift.

“We’re gutted that we weren’t able to get through to the final, but let’s appreciate what the lads have achieved.”

It has been a successful season on the south coast with Pompey securing League Two promotion and Harris believes the Premier League Cup run had an impact.

He said: “The success we’ve had this season has been incredible and I think this competition has played a part in that.

“We’ve kept lads fits who have needed games and given guys like Kal Naismith, Jamal Lowe and Conor Chaplin a spark.

“They’ve shown what they can do and have gone on to have an impact for the first team. It’s worked really well.

“Also, the experience that the academy lads have gained from playing in the competition is priceless.”


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