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Blues Sign Eight New Apprentices

Youngsters pen two-year deals with Pompey's academy

28 June 2018

Back row (l-r): Mark Kelly (academy manager), Haji Mnoga, Alfie Stanley, Harry Kavanagh, Stan Bridgman, Liam Daish (professional development phase coach). Front row (l-r): Tom Bruce, Ethan Robb, Liam Kelly, Leon Pitman. Photo: Simon Hill

Eight young Pompey players have signed apprenticeships at Fratton Park.

Stan Bridgman, Tom Bruce, Harry Kavanagh, Liam Kelly, Haji Mnoga, Leon Pitman, Ethan Robb and Alfie Stanley have penned two-year deals with the Blues academy.

All of them are aged 16 except for Robb, who celebrates his birthday next week. Seven of the group were born in Portsmouth, while goalkeeper Pitman is from the Isle of Wight.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “They’ve put in a lot of hard work and this is the start of the dream – but it’s only going to get harder for them.

"They’ve put in a lot of hard work and this is the start of the dream."

Mark Kelly

“We’ve spoken about the challenges ahead, but it’s nice that they’re local boys and understand the football club because it’s in their hearts.

“They’re still developing and all bring different things to the table, but will gel quickly as a group and are itching to succeed.”

We asked the new apprentices to introduce themselves…

Stan Bridgman
Position: Midfielder
I joined the club when I was nine and used to be a centre-half, but now play anywhere across the midfield. My ambition is to be a consistent first team player and help Pompey gain promotion. In the future I’d love to be a big name for the club I support. Being a local lad and playing for such a great club is an honour. Finally, my big dream is to represent England at any stage and I hope to work hard and get there one day.

Tom Bruce
Position: Defender
I have been at Pompey for four season and my ambition is to represent the club and play at the highest level of football. A few of my outside interests are going to the gym, table tennis and swimming.

Harry Kavanagh
Position: Right-back/wing-back
I’ve been a Pompey fan all my life and have a season ticket in the North Stand. I’ve been at the club for 10 years and want to continue improving as a person and a player. My goal is to play regularly for the first team. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.

Liam Kelly
Position: Left wing-back
I have played at Pompey for three seasons and my ambition is to represent the club at every level. I also hope to one day represent my country at a major competition. I have lived in Portsmouth my whole life and it is a real privilege to be able to play for such a great club.

Haji Mnoga
Position: Centre-back/Right-back
I have been at Portsmouth for around seven years and my main idol is John Terry because of his commitment for club and country. My biggest goal is to make my debut for Pompey at Fratton Park in the next couple of years.

Leon Pitman
Position: Goalkeeper
I’ve been lucky enough to be at the club for three years now and my ambition is obviously to make it as a professional, but also to play with the Fratton End behind me. I love all sports and am a season ticket holder, making every game I can. Oh, and I’m no relation to Brett!

Ethan Robb
Position: Midfielder
I have been at Pompey now for three seasons and my idol has always been Steven Gerrard. I can’t wait to get started and enjoy every moment of the next two years to help me develop as a player and a person. I have followed the club from a young age and the idea of putting on the shirt at Fratton Park is something that will continue to push me to work towards earning a professional contract at such a great club.

Alfie Stanley
Position: Forward
I’ve lived in Portsmouth all my life and have been at the club from the age of six. I am a life-long Pompey fan and season ticket holder for 12 years. My inspiration is Sergio Aguero, whom I aspire to be like. My dream is to represent Pompey at the highest level possible. It is an honour to wear the shirt and play for this great football club.

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