Pompey’s foundation phase lead coach Hugh Lewis has lauded a productive tour of France for the club’s under-10s and under-11s, with both age groups competing in Les Trophées de l'Entente over the Easter weekend.
The Blues' U10s finished seventh out of the 16 teams entered into the under-11 age bracket, with the U11s placing 11th in the under-12 section.
And Lewis was keen to stress the positives for the academy youngsters, who impressed against teams an age group above their own.
He said: “We’re delighted with the experience for all the lads. Both groups worked their socks off against opponents as much as 18 months older than themselves.
“There were some robust, incredibly mobile sides and – while physicality was a big factor – our lads coped with the challenge tremendously well.
“It felt like the land of the giants at times, but we got better and better as the tournament progressed and, on another day, could have possibly achieved even more.”
Academy head of education and welfare Jon Slater also labelled the trip an unequivocal success, and was delighted with the positive cultural impact of playing in an overseas tournament.
He said: "It was great for the lads to experience a European trip and there's plenty they can take from it that will ultimately aid their development on and off the pitch.
"It's also positive for the club as a whole to be taking part, as it helps to raise our profile as we attempt to build relationships abroad.
"Everybody fell in love with Pompey before, during and after the tournament, and I have to make special mention of the support from the parents, which was phenomenal."
The club would once again like to extend thanks to the generous sponsors that funded the trip, including Milkwood Care, Warner Goodman LLP, Lucketts Travel, Unity Wealth Management and Hepworth and Crockford Electrical Services.
The only two outright losses the U10s suffered were to eventual under-11 tournament winners RCU Luxembourg – in the quarter-finals – and runners-up CO Les Ulis, to whom they fell to a narrow 1-0 group stage defeat.
Elsewhere in their group phase, the young Blues drew 1-1 with French outfit SR Colmar, before a fine 2-0 win over German side Bayer 05 Uerdigen, which ensured they qualified for the quarter-finals as group runners-up.
After defeat to RCU Luxembourg in the last eight, Pompey went into the play-offs to determine an overall finishing position between fifth and eighth.
A goalless draw with FC Mulhouse and resultant defeat on penalties led the Blues into a showdown for seventh position with RS Magny, which ended 1-1.
But this time it was the Blues who enjoyed spot-kick success, winning a sudden death shootout to earn a top-half overall finish.
Academy manager Mark Kelly took charge of the under-11s, who lost both of their opening two group games in the under-12 category.
The first was a 3-0 defeat to eventual tournament winners CAP Paris Charenton and the second a close affair with Ernolsheim/Molsheim that ended in a 1-0 loss.
Pompey achieved a superb 3-1 victory over Bayer 05 Uerdigen in their third and final group game, with Rob Tudway netting a hat-trick in a game the Blues dominated.
From there, the U11s headed into play-offs to determine their overall finishing position between ninth and 16th.
Liam Marshall scored the only goal of the game during the hardworking Blues' 1-0 win over AS Lyon, before a 1-0 defeat to SR Colmar in game five.
Coby Killick and Freddie Young notched a goal apiece in the 11th/12th play-off, as Pompey capped off the fruitful trip with a 2-0 win over SV Zimmern.