Pompey skipper backs starlets to shine

Jordan Obita, centre, came off the bench to impress at Carlisle    Picture: Allan Hutchings
Jordan Obita, centre, came off the bench to impress at Carlisle Picture: Allan Hutchings

Brian Howard backed Pompey’s young guns to have a big impact this season

The Blues skipper believes the likes of Ashley Harris, Conor Clifford and new loanee Jordan Obita can be key players for Michael Appleton’s side.

The trio all had an impact as substitutes at Carlisle to give Pompey hope before they slipped to a 4-2 defeat on Saturday.

Obita was brought into the fray during the first half after Adam Webster limped off with a hamstring injury.

The 18-year-old – on loan from Reading – responded with a performance which marked him out as one of his side’s best players.

It was a similar story with Clifford and Harris, when they were introduced with 13 minutes remaining.

Harris was his usual livewire self and grabbed his maiden senior league goal with a couple of minutes of remaining.

And Clifford bagged one of the three goals which arrived in stoppage time.

They are all now pushing to play a greater role against Oldham this weekend.

Howard is hoping the players will have big roles to play for their side in the coming months – and vowed to play his part in educating them.

He said: ‘I know Jordan really well from my time at Reading. He’s a real talent.

‘Reading think very highly of him. If we can get him for a bit and play him week in, week out, I think the fans will really like him. He’s a really exciting player.

‘Ashley Harris is a local boy. He came on and scored a goal on Saturday. I said to him before the game that if he can get his work-rate up with his ability, I think he can be a top player for Portsmouth for a very long time.

‘He’s still a young kid with a lot of talent. If he gets his head down and works hard, hopefully he can be a top player.

‘Conor has got a great pedigree, coming through at Chelsea and came on and got the goal and I’ve said well done to him.

‘Hopefully I can do what I can to help them. I’ve been in a dressing room like this, having been beaten many times before.

‘It’s one of those things that comes with being a professional for so long.’