Guy Whittingham has backed Alex Grant for a footballing future – but not at Pompey.
The 18-year-old has left Fratton Park after not being offered a new deal.
Grant had spent the second half of the season on loan at the Hawks, impressing in a left-back role.
He also appeared for Pompey at centre half in their Capital One Cup fixture at Plymouth back in August. But there remains plenty of competition among the youngsters at Pompey in both of Grant’s favoured positions.
And that has prompted Whittingham to opt not to give him a fresh contract.
The Blues boss said: ‘We have got Adam Webster, Dan Butler and Josh Warren and I am not sure keeping Alex will make us better than what we have actually got.
‘I have no doubt he will go somewhere else and get sorted, I have no doubt about that at all.
‘But it is one of those where we have got other youngsters in that position who we are more than happy with.
‘It was a shame Alex got injured in October, which kept him out for three months. Unfortunately, he missed that bit of development the others had.
‘I suppose had that not happened, he might have been playing left-back instead of Dan Butler, but that is football.
‘I have no doubt he will find somewhere else to go.
‘We could have offered him a contract and got compensation for him and all that sort of stuff.
‘But he’s a nice kid, he’s been a bit unlucky with the injury and been unlucky we have other people here in his position, so we are not going to hold him back and ask for compensation for him.
In contrast, Academy graduates George Branford, Nick Awford, Jack Maloney, Liam Triggs and Warren have been offered first-year professional terms.
And Whittingham is looking for the latest crop of promising youngsters to push on.
He added: ‘They have not matured as people yet, let alone as football players.
‘We all saw what an extra six or so months did to Dan Butler and Jed Wallace. They have gone out and played a lot of football, so we will be doing the same sort of system with these lads.
‘They will be with us for the first three or four months training and helping them to improve. Then after that we will look to put them out on loan.’