Pompey Academy have been handed a blank fixture weekend as they plot the downfall of Premier League Manchester City.
And boss Mikey Harris is adamant the extra time will be used effectively.
This week the lads had been working very hard on creating a game plan, we know how we want the boys to approach Manchester City and it has been about drilling it into themMikey Harris
The Blues have been spared a Youth Alliance Under-18 South West League match on Saturday ahead of Tuesday’s FA Youth Cup tie.
With no fixture backlog to negotiate, the weekend remains free – a situation which pleases Harris.
His side face the unenviable task of toppling last season’s finalists in the Fratton Park fixture (7pm), which is expected to attract a good crowd.
Yet while Saturday is free of opposition, Pompey’s youngsters will still be out on the training pitch as they prepare for the eagerly-anticipated encounter.
And Harris is relishing the chance to fine-tune their game plan.
He said: ‘We have no game this weekend and I would say that’s good.
‘Otherwise on Tuesday there may be elements of fatigue about our play, so instead this allows us to have a full training week.
‘Mind you, Manchester City were meant to face Manchester United this weekend but that has now been postponed, so they will be in the same boat as us!
‘We have never been scheduled to have a league game for this date, while we are not behind with our matches.
‘Plymouth was the only one recently postponed but that has been arranged for January.
‘So it’s a free weekend to do some training and planning to ensure we are best prepared for what is an extremely difficult fixture.
‘This week the lads have been working very hard on creating a game plan.
‘We know how we want the boys to approach Manchester City and it has been about drilling it into them.
‘You have got to take everything into account.’
Pompey warmed up for Tuesday’s test with a 3-0 success at Yeovil on Saturday.
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kaleem Haitham and substitute Sam Woodward were all on target as Harris’ side moved up to sixth in the table.
And the win provided plenty to think about when selecting his side to take on City.
He added: ‘That Yeovil result definitely gave food for thought.
‘It was the last opportunity in a match environment for the players to stake their claim and credit to the boys for doing that.
‘They worked very hard to perform to a very, very good level and the result reflected that.
‘From my point of view, I have no worries or concerns about any of the players and will pick a side I believe can cause an upset.
‘The performance of our substitutes Harvey Bradbury and Sam Woodward at Bristol Rovers in the previous round of the FA Youth Cup shows everyone in the squad can play their part.’
Only the upper section of the South Stand will be open for Tuesday night’s fixture.
Tickets are priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions (aged 61-plus and under-23s).