The Pompey trio eyeing a Wembley final
The future can wait, Pompey's teenage trio are revelling in the present.
Snorre Nilsen, Chad Field and Calvin Davies have Wembley in their sights after helping Bognor to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.
The youngsters are out of contract at Fratton Park this summer, their on-going Blues presence currently undetermined.
Versatile Nilsen and central defender Field’s first-year professional terms are coming to a natural close.
Copnor’s Davies, a year younger, is approaching the end of his time in Mark Kelly’s Academy set-up, where he has served as skipper.
Potentially life-changing decisions loom on the horizon, yet in the meantime the on-loan three are impressing at the Ryman League premier division club.
It was Nilsen’s headed goal which saw off National League side Torquay last weekend to maintain the Rocks’ remarkable run in the Trophy.
Davies lined up at right-back in that fixture, facing ex-Blues product and currently a left-winger, Dan Butler, while Field was an unused substitute.
Never before had Bognor progressed beyond the third round of a competition, whose final will take place at Wembley on Sunday, May 22.
Rocks boss Jamie Howell was himself on Pompey’s books in 1996-97 without making an appearance.
A personal highlight remains serving as an unused substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to Norwich for Terry Fenwick’s team in September 1996.
And he remains grateful to his former club for supplying the talented trio whose presence has been so crucial.
Howell said: ‘We have a good relationship with Mark Kelly and Mikey Harris at Pompey and decided to trial a link-up this season, taking some of their young lads for the year.
‘It has worked out very, very well.
‘Traditionally, we have a small squad anyway, so took Chad and Snorre at the start of the season and they have played most of our games.
‘Calvin joined us six weeks ago and their attitudes have been first-class.
‘Snorre came to us as a full-back but we have played him a lot on the right-hand side of midfield in a 4-3-3.
‘He’s very much box-to-box, possessing lots of energy, and if he took all of his chances would probably be the league’s top scorer!
‘Credit to him, he gets into good positions, and on Saturday missed one before half-time when he should have scored but, low-and-behold, ended up getting the winner.
‘Chad is a tall lad and still growing, and is very quick for a centre-half.
‘Since being with us his heading has improved a great deal because he is playing week-in, week-out in a more aggressive environment against men.
‘As for Calvin, he is quite a small fella but tenacious and whole-hearted. He has been excellent.
‘In every game I don’t think anyone has got the better of him – and we have played against National League teams and players of a higher calibre.
‘And we thank Pompey for letting us have such good, young players.’
Nilsen’s father, Harald, won an alpine skiing bronze for Norway at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
The youngster, who established a link with Pompey while in Scandinavia, before joining as an apprentice, has made 36 appearances and scored five times for the Rocks.
Nineteen-year-old Field hails from Portchester and recently lost his place in the side to the central-defensive partnership of Craig Robson and Sami El-Abd.
Regardless, he has appeared 40 times, scoring once.
Davies arrived on loan at Nyewood Lane at the end of January, since featuring on eight occasions.
He made his Blues first-team debut in September 2015, lining up against Exeter in a 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat.
The Pompey links don’t end there for the fifth-placed club, who also have aspirations of reaching National League South this season.
The Rocks squad contains ex-Blues Academy striker Alfie Rutherford, while 31-goal Jason Prior was a member of the Portsmouth Schools side which won the Under-15 Inter Association Trophy in 2004.
For Pompey Academy boss Kelly, the trio’s continuing time at Bognor has been priceless.
He said: ‘Whatever happens to them in the next three or four weeks from the decisions the club makes, it has been a massive experience for the lads and one which is going to aid them hugely if they are going to have a career in professional football.
‘I know Chad has certainly grown up in the environment, while Snorre is kind of coming to the fore over there, they think a lot of him.
‘With Calvin, we all know what he is – he gets up and down and causes problems.
‘Them going there has worked, it is a different feel, they have to come out of the comfort zone, mix with people, experience a different changing room.
‘You can be here playing under-21s and under-18s football, but it does not have that added pressure of requiring three points.
‘We haven’t yet sat down and spoken to anyone about their future, we have to finalise all those situations within the next three or four weeks.’
While turning out for the Rocks, the youngsters have continued to train with Pompey, often with Paul Cook’s first-team squad.
And the Blues boss will also be involved in discussions on where next for Nilsen, Field and Davies.
Cook said: ‘Our lads are doing really well at Bognor, they are having an education, it is so important for them to play.
‘They are playing for their futures, like all young lads, but are doing great at the minute and I’m really pleased for them.’
And the only future focused on at present is a two-legged semi-final against Grimsby, starting March 12.