Former Fratton favourite Kevin Ball has spoken highly of new loan signing Adam Reed and told Pompey fans: You’ll love him.
Ball was a popular, no-nonsense centre-back who was 100-per-cent committed for the Blues during the late 1980s, before his switch to Sunderland, and knows exactly what Pompey fans demand.
In his role as Academy boss at the Stadium of Light, Ball has worked with the promising 21-year-old midfielder for several years.
He has backed his young charge to make a big impression at Fratton Park following the completion of his loan deal.
Former Blues captain Ball said: ‘People might look at the size of him and think there’s not much meat on the bones but I can tell you one thing – he’s not frightened of a tackle, that’s for sure.
‘He can certainly tackle but he can play as well. He’s a decent footballer, he likes to win and he will work very hard to win.
‘He’s got good endurance, he’s a fit boy and I know he is really looking forward to it at Portsmouth.
‘There was a real grin on his face when he found out about the move. He definitely wanted to go.
‘He will run through a brick wall for you and I think he is the type of player that Pompey fans will take to very quickly.’
Reed has spent loan spells with Brentford, Bradford and Leyton Orient and had no qualms about making the switch – especially after Ball gave him a few pointers on what to expect.
Ball said: ‘He’s been out on loan at various League One and League Two clubs but he is ready to play league football again. Martin O’Neill thought it was a good move for him.
‘Adam wants to play at the highest level of football he can and he needs to do it for himself.
‘At the age he is at, he needs to be playing competitive football.
‘Playing development football gets young players to a certain stage but there is no substitute for first-team experience.
‘I told him I used to play for them many years ago and told him it was great club.
‘He is aware of the problems there but I wanted to get him out playing at Fratton Park.
‘It’s fantastic to bring players through the Academy but if they are not going to play in our first team at this moment in time, then it makes sense to be out there playing competitive football and knowing what it’s like to be playing in front of decent fans.
‘He will get that at Portsmouth.’
The Hartlepool-born Reed is expected to make his debut tomorrow against his hometown club.
He will not be alone with many new recruits vying for starting berths as Pompey search for a first win in 15 games.
Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham is still not exactly flush with selection options but he at least has a bit more competition for places.
And Ball believes Reed is ready to stake a claim for selection in Pompey’s revamped engine room.
Ball said: ‘Central midfield is Adam’s best position. He can sit in, get the ball from the back four and play. Or if you want him to get forward to get up and down the pitch, he can do that as well because he has great energy.’