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Third Year Scholarships For Bridgman And Gifford

Teenage duo given new deals

2 May 2022

Alfie Bridgman and Dan Gifford

Pompey have handed third year scholarships to two of their academy players.

Midfielder Alfie Bridgman and striker Dan Gifford – who are both aged 18 – will be extending their careers with the Blues.

Bridgman has already made two first team appearances for the club in the Papa John’s Trophy, while both players have impressed on loan at Bognor this season.

The duo follow in the footsteps of Toby Steward and Harry Jewitt-White, who have signed their first professional contracts this season.

Academy manager Greg Miller said: “It’s brilliant news for them and now they need to keep working hard to continue their progress.

“Dan’s had such a successful loan at Bognor and I know they’re desperate for him to stay for next season, while Alfie’s also had a good spell there over a shorter period.

“Danny Cowley wants them both in for the first day of pre-season and then we’ll sit down and work out where the best destination for any of our players is.

“But the gauntlet has been thrown down and if they immediately start showcasing their talents to a high level, then that might allow them to find their way into the Pompey squad.

“They’ve been given that opportunity to impress the coaching staff and now it’s up to them to make the most of that.

“We were turned down by some of our players last term, perhaps because they were nervous about the pathway and Covid didn’t help the situation.

"They’ve been given that opportunity to impress the coaching staff and now it’s up to them to make the most of that."

Greg Miller

“But this season we’ve seen lads train with the first team on a daily basis and it’s led to two lads signing pro contracts and two agreeing third year scholarships.

“To get four players making the step up in the first year since we’ve made some alterations is absolutely fantastic.”

Harvey Hughes, Izzy Kaba, Conor Manderson and David Setters have not been offered new Pompey deals.

Miller said: “It is always heartbreaking when it’s deemed that any young player has reached the end of their time with the club.

“Danny and I undertook the process, along with Liam Daish, of breaking the bad news to them and we thank them for their efforts, along with their families.

“We’ve helped them create CVs with clips and have circulated them to EFL clubs, while they’re all coming in to train this week.

“They’ll have a post-season maintenance programme provided – both in the gym and also cardiovascular – to maintain the appropriate fitness levels.

“There is also some pastoral support that has been put in place and a number of one-to-ones with our head of psychology.

“That support will continue to be there for these players – not only over the summer, but also in the future as they transition away from Portsmouth Football Club.

“It’s just trying to help them identify the best pathway. Some are contemplating a US scholarship, some are looking at an U23 professional team and some want to go straight into the men’s game at whatever level.”

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