Macca: Reserves will replicate Pompey seniors

Alan McLoughlin   Picture: Joe Pepler
Alan McLoughlin Picture: Joe Pepler

Getting promising youngsters into a first-team frame of mind.

For Alan McLoughlin, the resurrection of the reserve league is invaluable in the development of Pompey’s youth.

Academy trio Calvin Davis, Chad Field and James Granger all started Tuesday’s opener at Peterborough.

Joining in with the experience were Conor Chaplin, Brandon Haunstrup and Lewis Gill, who all climbed off the bench in the 3-2 success.

Andy Awford and his staff have been keen to adopt a senior approach to the reserve season, regardless of the ages of those involved.

For the Posh encounter, preparations consisted of travelling to the Nene Park Academy in the first-team coach and having a customary pre-match meal.

It’s an approach McLoughlin insists is crucial as youngsters learn to adapt to such an environment.

And the Blues’ first team coach believes the experience can only aid their progress.

He said: ‘We tried to make it as accurate as possible in terms of the first-team.

‘Peterborough was done properly, we used the first-team coach, we had a pre-match meal in Stevenage and there is a lot of expense involved.

‘We had our team talk in the dressing room before the game, although at half-time I wanted to find the shade of a tree (to do it) rather than walk all the way back.

‘Obviously, we can’t give a presentation because we don’t have any information, but that is the only thing lacking from a match-day preparation.

‘We want the first-team replicated in the reserves so when these scholars come into the first team they know the environment.

‘We are trying to make it as match-day specific as possible, so are giving them a base if they do come up it’s not such an awkward environment to be in.

‘And they enjoyed it.

‘It’s a learning curve and I said on the board before the match, when you are playing these games it’s a technical and tactical learning curve.

‘And you are always learning, whether you are 16 starting as a scholar, whether you are Pat Agyemang at 33 or myself, you should be learning in every training session in every game and the boys are again picking up valuable information.’

Joining the youngsters in the side against Posh were Miles Storey, Dan Butler and Patrick Agyemang – who came off the bench to feature against Burton on Sunday.

Unused substitutes from that League Two defeat Adam Webster, Ben Close and Michael Poke also lined-up at the Nene Park Academy.

And McLoughlin has warned firs teamers they will continue to be expected to feature for the reserves.

He added: ‘You don’t get special dispensation if you have been sub and come on for the first team – you are available for the reserves, whether that is Johnny Ertl, Ben Chorley or Ricky Holmes.

‘If you are available to play in the game and we don’t think you’ve had quite enough minutes you will play in the reserves when that game comes along.

‘It’s a competitive league and we want to do well.’