Young Blues set for Gosport test

Liam Triggs will continue his Pompey development against Gosport Borough tonight at Privett Park
Liam Triggs will continue his Pompey development against Gosport Borough tonight at Privett Park

Alan McLoughlin has told his young Pompey troops: Prepare for another physical test from Gosport.

A youthful Pompey side, made up of development players, Academy scholars and a some first-team squad members, will travel to Privett Park tonight (7.45pm).

The Blues first-team coach will have five development players at his disposal in Jack Maloney, Josh Warren, Liam Triggs, Nick Awford and George Branford, but boss Guy Whittingham is expected to add some first-teamers to the mix – with Ryan Bird, Ashley Harris and Adam Webster all in line to feature.

McLoughlin saw a similar side beaten 3-1 at Conference Premier outfit Salisbury City last week and is expecting a comparable encounter against Alex Pike’s side.

‘The development boys and the scholars are playing against men at times,’ said McLoughlin.

‘Salisbury are a Conference side and they were very strong physically.

‘So this is more akin to what these young players may potentially step into in League Two for us.

‘It’s a good opportunity for them to impress. The manager will be there watching and it‘s not a game where we expect them to stroll through.

‘There are places available on the first-team bench and they have to be ready.

‘So we are looking for 100-per-cent commitment and effort from them.

‘They are still a development group and they are learning football knowledge, developing physically and mentally.

‘But it’s a good test for them because some of the boys played against Rayo Vallecano at Fratton Park and then they are playing against Gosport.

‘That is no disrespect to Gosport – they are a good team, they are a local side and we want to put in a decent performance.’

Borough boss Pike, meanwhile, will have one eye on his team and another on the young Blues contingent who may be available to loan later in the season.

Pike said: ‘Of course, it depends on Guy but we have a good relationship.

‘That’s one thing I like about Guy as a manager – he has forged links with all of the non-league clubs in the area – that’s important.

‘Hopefully, we can all help contribute towards Portsmouth’s future success.

‘He’s a great bloke to have like that. He knows the non-league scene, he knows all of the managers and he keeps in touch with it.

‘If there are any players that he wants to put out to Gosport in the future, we would be very interested.’

Pike added: ‘Pompey will have some first-team players in but there is a good mix.

‘We’re happy that they have given us the fixture and it gives me the opportunity to judge my players against full-time professionals.’

Admission costs are: Adults £12, concessions £8, under-16s £4 and under-10s free with a paying adult.