Keepers battle it out to claim place on Pompey tour

Simon Eastwood, left, and Laurie Walker, right, with goalkeeping coach John Keeley. Picture: Steve Reid (122332-983)
Simon Eastwood, left, and Laurie Walker, right, with goalkeeping coach John Keeley. Picture: Steve Reid (122332-983)

Michael Appleton has challenged his goalkeeping triallists to battle it out to win a place on the pre-season tour to Spain.

Simon Eastwood and Laurie Walker turned up for week-long trials on Monday in a bid to impress.

With Pompey not possessing a stopper, the free-agent pair have the opportunity to stake a claim for a permanent deal.

Another goalkeeper on trial, Darjan Curanovic, is arriving on Saturday.

He is already booked on the 10-day training camp in Spain, which begins on Monday.

It leaves Eastwood and Walker going head-to-head – under the watchful gaze of goalkeeping coach John Keeley – in an attempt to join the Slovenian on the plane.

Appleton said: ‘They are both young ’uns and it’s an opportunity for John (Keeley) to have a look at them.

‘He will have a better indication of where they are and what they can do rather than me.

‘Laurie has a lot of strengths and a lot of weaknesses but he is a young lad, willing to learn.

‘He has come to the right football club at the right time because, hopefully, we will have a good new group of young players, desperate to learn and be successful.

‘For Simon, it has been difficult for him at Huddersfield because he has Alex Smithies – who has been talked about for the last three or four years going to Premier League clubs – keeping him out of the team.

‘He has been on loan to a couple of clubs but was very highly thought of in his teens and now wants to go somewhere where he can maybe establish himself as a number one.

‘I am not saying he is going to get that opportunity here, but come and train for a week, let’s have a look at you and see where we take it from there.

‘And there is a chance of Spain for someone.’