Another former Pompey youngster joining the Bognor ranks

Freddie Read on the ball for the Rocks against Dorking last season / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Freddie Read on the ball for the Rocks against Dorking last season / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Rocks boss Jack Pearce is poised to capture former Pompey starlet Freddie Read.

Read, 18, is set to put pen to paper after agreeing terms on a deal with Bognor following a handful of appearances for the club last season.

The news comes after Pearce confirmed ex-Blues striker Dan Smith is teaming up with the Nyewood Lane outfit and is on the back of the recent recruitment of ex-Rocks playmaker Stu Green from AFC Totton. And last season’s top scorer Jimmy Muitt is also set to stay.

Pearce, who will manage the team with Robbie Blake next season, said: “We have agreed terms with Freddie and we are delighted he is joining us. We saw glimpses of his capabilities last season and we hope to help him develop.

"The players we have managed to bring in so far gives us great encouragement going in to the new season."

The addition of Read, who also played some loan games at Gosport Borough last term, means the Rocks squad is growing fast and captain Harvey Whyte and defender Keaton Wood are others who have agreed to stay -- and in the past week, Doug Tuck and Ashton Leigh have put pen to paper.

Utility player James Crane has already moved back to the Rocks from Worthing and Leigh has made the permanent move from Wessex League premier division side Baffins Milton.

Read featured in the Blues’ Checkatrade Trophy triumph last season with appearances against Arsenal under-21s and Southend. And Blues’ youth boss Mark Kelly admitted Pompey’s decision to release him was difficult. He told the [b]Portsmouth News[/b][i][/i] last month: "It was a tough call from all of us. But there is really strong competition in the midfield area. It’s a hard corridor and Freddie wants to get exposure to senior football.

"Sometimes you’ve got to help the boys by letting them go out and find some different avenues. Freddie is very open to that and it was a two-way conversation. He was very much of the opinion that he needs to go out and find some senior football.

"He’s been a solid performer but sometimes it comes down to competition. It’s tough and sometimes they’re hard calls to make. I’m not saying Freddie won’t go out and build a career -- how many times have you seen players go out and do it?

“Sometimes as staff you’ve got to be brave enough. If you think the pathway is going to be blocked then they need to go and find a level they can excel at. Sometimes that’s the way development goes – look at Jamal Lowe and Louis Dennis.

‘It’s a different dynamic and football is a long journey that can have different turns. That’s happened for Freddie and he’s obviously got the support of all of us behind him.”