JED WALLACE has been backed to reap the rewards from his return to non-league football.
The 18-year-old, who made his Pompey debut against Plymouth earlier this season, has joined Whitehawk on a month-long loan.
Just over a year ago, the Blues recruited him from the now Ryman premier side Lewes and brought him into their Academy set-up.
Now Wallace has returned to that league for a spell with Brighton-based Whitehawk.
The midfielder netted on his debut for them last weekend and followed it up with the winner at Canvey Island on Tuesday night.
That has taken his side to the top of the table in a division which also contains Bognor.
Potentially, Wallace can play eight matches during his initial month at Whitehawk, which will be crucial game-time for the youngster.
And Pompey boss Michael Appleton is adamant he can come back to Fratton Park an improved player.
He said: ‘Jed got a goal for them on his debut and did well by all accounts.
‘Apparently he got man of the match.
‘He then came in and trained with us on Tuesday.
‘He looked sharp and as though he had a spring in his step.
‘It’s important for the young boys to go out on loan if they can, to go and experience men’s football as much as they can.
‘He is going to get plenty of game-time while there, which all those young boys are desperate to get at the moment.’
The youngster made his Pompey first-team bow at Plymouth in the Capital One Cup in the first match of the current campaign.
He was one of nine teenagers to start the game, with 11 in total being used by Appleton.
The midfielder turned in an eye-catching performance, emerging as the Blues’ man of the match in the 3-0 defeat.
Pompey’s squad-size restrictions have conspired to ensure he has been unable to be considered for first-team duty since.
Instead, Wallace has played several development group fixtures behind closed doors at Eastleigh.
Appleton has long spoken of the importance of sending out his youngsters on loan to gain experience while the club remains in administration.
Wallace moved to Whitehawk last week and within 24 hours made his debut against Wingate & Finchley last Saturday.
He responded by netting a stunning goal 41 minutes in, beating three players before crashing the ball into the top corner of the net.
That helped his new side win 3-1 in front of a crowd of 73 at the Enclosed Stadium.
Wallace followed it up on Tuesday night with the headed winner in a 2-1 triumph over Canvey Island to keep them top.