Cook praise for impressive Pompey Academy production line

Conor Chaplin earned plenty of plaudits for his two goals in the 3-1 win against Barnet on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin earned plenty of plaudits for his two goals in the 3-1 win against Barnet on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Home-grown Chaplin and Webster featured in weekend victory over Barnet
  • Midfielder Adam May currently training with Cook’s first team as he continues to impress

PAUL COOK has paid tribute to the Pompey production line which is showing no signs of slowing.

Conor Chaplin’s double strike helped clinch a 3-1 victory over Barnet at the weekend, as he continues to blossom.

Adam May in Johnstone's Paint Trophy action against Exter earlier this season Picture: Joe Pepler

Adam May in Johnstone's Paint Trophy action against Exter earlier this season Picture: Joe Pepler

The 18-year-old’s emergence from the Academy into the senior set-up is a route which continues to be a busy one for Pompey.

Of the current squad, local quartet Adam Webster, Jack Whatmough, Ben Close and Brandon Haunstrup have all followed the same journey.

The next one expected to make a mark is Adam May, who earlier this campaign was awarded his maiden first-year professional deal.

In recent seasons, Jed Wallace, Dan Butler and Ashley Harris have made their first-team mark, having come through Andy Awford’s youth system.

Adam May is with the first team now having moved up from the kids. He is training with us every day and what a fine young talent he is

Paul Cook

Nowadays, Mark Kelly is at the helm – and Cook is delighted with the on-going results.

‘I was not really surprised by the talent among the youngsters when I arrived. I’d had the team watched late in the season and it was quite obvious the club had good young players,’ said the manager.

‘Kells (Mark Kelly) and the other lads can take great credit. I think we are in a strong place, with the Academy working well,

‘I believe these youngsters have been educated properly. I haven’t been here that long, but with young footballers coming through the things you look at are their attitude and willingness – and they are all top class from all the lads. Top class.

‘Even lads like Webster, who has been in and out of the team and is another lad waiting to play, still have that great attitude.

‘Sometimes if the first team isn’t doing well at a club everything has a downer, but it really hasn’t here – the kids still keep coming through no matter what else has gone on.

‘Adam May is with the first team now, having moved up from the kids. He is training with us every day and what a fine, young talent he is.

‘He is ready to play and this is the problem I have as manager, making sure you bring the lads on at the correct time. But if any of these lads had to play on Saturday it wouldn’t bother me.

‘May, Close, I could play any of them, it shows we are strong. Then there’s Jack (Whatmough), while Ben Tollitt is an exciting young talent – I really do think we have bright young options.’

Pompey travel to Oxford United on Saturday seeking to maintain an unbeaten start to the League Two season which has lifted them up to third.

It has been an encouraging beginning from the revamped Blues and Cook is delighted how the club is faring both on and off the pitch.

He added: ‘One of the things about Portsmouth, in general, is the character of the people in the club, so you might be down for a day but people won’t keep this club down.

‘Whether I am successful or Joe Bloggs is, this club will rise, without any doubt.

‘There is a level of professionalism from the boardroom to the chief executive and finance director, they are on that same page of trying to deliver success.’