Boss wants youth to drive Pompey vision

113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Marko Futacs celebrates his goal with team mate Ryan Williams. 'Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash.  ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-640)
113529_PFC_ROSTOV_05/10/11''Marko Futacs celebrates his goal with team mate Ryan Williams. 'Portsmouth FC V FC Rostov at Fratton Park in a charity friendly in memory of those who lost their lives in the Yaroslavl air crash. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (113529-640)

Michael Appleton wants youth to help drive his Pompey vision.

The Blues boss is eager to make products from the Academy an integral part of the club’s future.

Barely two weeks into his Fratton Park tenure, Appleton has already been impressed with the talent in the current set-up.

It is a production line he is keen to utilise as he attempts to plot the course ahead.

As a former West Bromwich Albion Academy assistant, he is experienced in working with such talents.

Ryan Williams and Sam Magri have trained with the first team for the majority of the season.

Last week they were joined by defender Alex Grant, a regular in Andy Awford’s Academy side during the campaign.

Meanwhile, Adam Webster and Jed Wallace were given substitute appearances by predecessor Steve Cotterill in the friendly against FC Rostov last month.

Last season a raft of youngsters were released after being deemed not good enough by Cotterill.

Only Marlon Pack and Liam O’Brien have remained in the Football League.

Yet Cotterill had spoken glowingly about the current crop blossoming under Awford before he walked out for Nottingham Forest.

Regardless, Appleton intends to put his faith into youth whenever he can.

He said: ‘I’ve seen quite a few of the younger players – the likes of Ryan Williams and Sam Magri.

‘Young Alex (Grant) came to us at the end of last week and did a little bit too.

‘Youth has to have a chance. It’s the way forward for all clubs and that’s been proved at the highest level.

‘You’ve got certain clubs who can go out and spend as much money as they want and that’s their prerogative.

‘There are not many other clubs in that luxury position – and Portsmouth is one of them.

‘We’re in a position where we need to find young talent and produce young talent ourselves.

‘Or if we can get young talent from other clubs, get them at a good age and get good coaching into them, then who knows?

‘We would be daft to dismiss any chance of young players getting into the team.

‘I’ve seen more of the development players between the youth and the first team.

‘I haven’t had the chance to see so much of the youth boys just yet but I know they recently got a fantastic result against Southampton.

‘I was ever so pleased for Andy (Awford) and the lads and it showed they must be doing something right.

‘The more I get involved with the football club, the more of an opportunity I will get to see those boys.

‘That was part and parcel of me taking the job.

‘If I can improve and help the people in the Academy set-up as much as I possibly can, having been part of it at a previous club, then I will do.’

Of those released last season, Perry Ryan (Hawks), Ellis Martin (Gosport) and Peter Gregory (Eastbourne Borough) have managed to find new clubs.

However, Billy Goddard and Tom Kilbey are believed to be still searching as they look to carve out a career in football.

Pack signed a permanent deal with Cheltenham upon his release and continues to impress for the League Two side.

O’Brien is another who has bounced back, joining Barnet in January and going on to make 14 appearances, including six this season.

In addition, Matt Ritchie was sold to Swindon for around £200,000 in January.

He went on to become their player of the year, although couldn’t prevent the Robins dropping into League Two.

Of those who remain, however, Appleton is eager to promote some into first-team training to aid their development.

He added: ‘Ultimately you have got to bring in your development players and get them involved in training with the first team as much as possible.

‘We will do that sensibly and bring in different players at different times.

‘We mix the training up where they are training in units.

‘So we might have the front players training with Guy, the defenders with me and the midfielders with Stuart.

‘Then switch it around so it gives you the opportunity to have bigger numbers.

‘With the three coaches in there you get to have a look at the development lads.

‘The more they train, the more involvement they have with the first-team lads the better their development will be.’