Pompey defend behind-closed-doors friendly decision

Pompey assistant manager Steve Allen Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey assistant manager Steve Allen Picture: Joe Pepler

Steve Allen has defended the decision to stage a behind-closed-doors friendly with Aldershot today.

The Blues face the troubled non-league side (2pm) with a squad consisting of 15 triallists.

The fixture is being staged at the Shots’ training ground, with fans not invited to attend.

Some supporters have criticised the idea, though, suggesting a fully-fledged friendly should be staged and entry fees charged to boost Aldershot’s coffers.

Allen will be assisted by player-recruitment consultant Darren Simmons for the match, allowing Guy Whittingham to look on from the sidelines rather than manage.

But the Pompey assistant boss believes it would not be fair to charge fans to attend the event.

Allen said: ‘I know many fans are asking about why it is behind closed doors and not in front of a paying public.

‘But as this will be a mixed bag with a mixed team, it is not fair to charge.

‘There have already been suggestions of various non-league friendlies Pompey are involved in this summer being too pricey.

‘There will be 15 triallists on display, none of our first-team squad, and we didn’t want people moaning that it was not quite what they wanted to see in terms of the players or performance.

‘After all, who is going to pay to watch 15 triallists?

‘Besides, Aldershot’s pitch is probably not ready yet, so there are other things to consider.

‘Don’t get me wrong, these triallists will represent us properly and give a good account of themselves. It is a chance for them to show what they can do individually and collectively.

‘We will be making a very quick assessment and if they are not for us, Aldershot, Gosport, the Hawks and Salisbury will also be watching.

‘If we can help others along the way, like Aldershot, that has got to be a good thing.’

Pompey XI (from): Nathan Ashmore,

Paul Mooney, Kevin Amankwaah, Jay Leader, Jordan Knight, Hayes Thomas, Jon Dollery, Malaury Martin, Charlie Oatway Jnr,

Junior Appiah, Adam Phillip, Geoff Mitchell, Danny Wishart, Jason Prior, Adam Watts.