Pompey mull over not loaning youngsters

Jack Maloney    Picture: Sarah Standing
Jack Maloney Picture: Sarah Standing

Pompey boss Andy Awford has revealed he is contemplating shelving loan plans for his impressive Pompey youngsters.

The Blues boss have given the first and second year professionals in his large squad the opportunity to shine during pre-season.

Ben Close, Nick Awford and Bradley Tarbuck have all featured in the opening three matches.

In addition, Jack Maloney is expected to make an appearance at Ebbsfleet tomorrow (3pm) having sat out Tuesday night.

The winger’s previous outing at Bognor saw him create a goal for Tarbuck in the 6-1 romp.

Awford is prepared to give opportunities to youngsters and eight of his 29-man squad represent home-grown talent.

He is delighted with how they have responded to their first-team chance so far.

The Blues boss said: ‘All the young lads have had a chance and I have to say they have all taken it and done very well.

‘They are part of the squad, there are no first-team, reserves and youth team, there’s professional players and they are part of that group I will be picking 11 from.

‘I think everybody can see the improvement they have made and it is great for them as they are part of the squad.

‘We won’t send them out on loan just to get rid of them, to get them out of the way.

‘If we send them out on loan it will be for their benefit and our benefit and hopefully it will benefit someone else like a Havant, a Bognor or a Gosport maybe.

‘At the moment, though, I don’t want them to go out on loan because they are doing very well.

‘I want them with us in the group and we are going to need the players we need to have a successful season.’

Pompey are awaiting news on a scan on the ankle Tarbuck injured against Thurrock.

He yesterday left the training camp to return home for treatment and has been ruled out for tomorrow.

That leaves Close, Awford and Maloney pushing for selection for the match against the Conference South side.

And Awford has stressed the importance of continuing to involve them in the first-team environment.

He added: ‘I have made sure they have been looked after because it is so important.

‘I remember as a kid going into the professional group and was looked after by Colin Clarke, Martin Kuhl, Alan Knight and Warren Neill – they made sure you did it right.

‘We have now got our young kids who have got to be allowed to make mistakes and improve – and they are improving at the moment which is brilliant.’