Paul Hardyman looked forward tonight’s south coast youth derby and told his Academy troops: Go and make great memories for yourselves.
Pompey’s youngsters travel to Southampton in the third round of the FA Youth Cup (kick-off 7pm).
The Blues will be considered underdogs for the trip to St Mary’s but head into the eagerly-anticipated clash on the back of eight matches unbeaten in all competitions.
They are also waiting to discover whether Jack Whatmough will be given the nod to return from duty with the senior set-up.
Andy Awford will be back to lead them, however, returning to the youth ranks following his stint as first-team caretaker boss.
Inevitably, it is a fixture the many local youngsters in the Academy set-up are relishing.
And coach Hardyman has challenged them to claim a famous victory.
He said: ‘We have a lot of lads who know the rivalry and how important it is to the football club and fans.
‘Trust me, it does not matter what level you play Southampton, you want to go and do well against them.
‘It does not matter if it’s the first-team, with David Norris scoring in the last minute, or the under-nines on a Sunday morning – they want to do well.
‘There is no love lost between the clubs and every player at every level realises that.
‘No disrespect, not all the lads will go on to become professional footballers – that is how the game works.
‘But they will have a lasting memory of going to play against Southampton at St Mary’s. It is something they will want to cherish for the rest of their lives, especially if they win.
‘It will be a great occasion for our lads and they can make it even better by winning.’
– neil allen
St mary’s inspiration
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