New Season Beckons For Pompey Academy

Pompey Academy U18’s open their 2022/23 season against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, August 13 at Fareham Town FC, 11am KO. The full fixture list can be found here.

New and prior year scholars. Missing from the picture – Brian Quarm who signed afterwards and Elliott Simpson due to illness Photo: Colin Farmery

We take a look at the squad for the campaign ahead including the youngsters that are expected to go out on loan to non-league clubs to further their development.

Academy players and staff
Photo: Colin Farmery

Goalkeepers

Toby Steward signed his first professional contract with Pompey in February this year and is expected to go on loan this season.

He featured in a number of Pompey’s pre-season friendlies including Bognor, Gillingham and Bristol City.

In addition, Steward has appeared for Bognor in their pre-season friendlies against Horndean, Worthing and Sholing. A loan deal would seem to be confirmed soon.

Bognor boss Robbie Blake hopes to take Steward and midfielder Alfie Bridgman on loan.

“Toby looks a great prospect, looks very assured for his age and Alfie has developed really well since we had him with us last season.

“We have a great relationship with Pompey and we are very grateful to Danny and the club for all of their help.”

Bastian Smith is described as a strong shot-stopper who has shown a good aptitude to learning during his trial at the end of last season.

Malachi Osei-Owusu showed the Academy staff his strong shot-stopping abilities, along with bravery and strength in 1v1s during a trial period at the end of last season.

Defenders

Jack Fox

Gained the most U18s appearances out of all the U16 outfield players last season, Jack thrives in 1v1 defensive duels and has a good tactical awareness, having played in multiple defensive positions and formations.

Former Pompey midfielder Danny Hollands who coached both Jack and Mitch Aston told The News: “He’s (Jack) physically ready, a wholehearted competitor who loves defending.

‘He’s one of these defenders who is right sided and plays on the left, is good in the air, quick, and has quite a lot of strings to his bow. He’s got a chance.”

Harvey Laidlaw

Grandson of former Pompey defender Joe Laidlaw. Left-back Harvey is described by the Academy as calm in possession and his dead ball delivery is a very strong attribute.

Josh Dockerill made his U18s debut in November 2020 in a 1-1 draw against Newport County. Liam Daish who was coach at the time remarked that he did well, didn’t look out of place for such a young lad and was delighted with his performance.

Spencer Spurway made his return from a long injury lay-off during the 2-2 draw with Exeter City in April.

Released by Fulham, right-back Brian Quarm was awarded a scholarship after a successful trial.

Midfielders

Third-year scholar Alfie Bridgman has already made two first team appearances for Pompey in the Papa John’s Trophy and impressed on loan with Bognor last season where he is likely to return.

He earned a first call-up to Malta under-19s in May, joining their training camp and featuring in friendlies against Northern Ireland which ended in 6-0 and 2-1 defeats.

Daniel Murray joined from Fulham. He is a combative midfielder who has performed well on trial in the U18s last season. His attributes lend well to linking the build-up from defence and making passes to help us progress up the pitch. Out of possession, he shows a great desire and energy to help win the ball back quickly on transitions.

Like Jack Fox, Mitch Aston has been with the academy for a number of years. He’s a central midfielder and former coach Danny Hollands has high praise: “He’s very, very clever, technically extremely good, and reminds me of Ben Close. Mitchell’s a bit more box-to-box than Closey, but shares similar technical ability.”

Kevin Bosaka spent last season in the academy following a successful trial at the end of the 2020/21 campaign. He is an athletic player who likes to keep play simple. He demonstrates a good ability to drive forward away from opponents and make passes to our attackers.

Elliott Simpson

Koby Mottoh is the youngest of the new scholars and joined following a successful trial last season. Koby is noted by the Academy as very strong at dribbling and thrives in 1v1 scenarios.

Adam Payce

Midfielder who made his Pompey debut last season in the EFL Trophy 3-0 win against Crystal Palace Under-21s.

Danny Cowley post-match said “Young Adam Payce played with such an intelligence for a boy, he is only a first year scholar. He only left school maybe three/four months ago.”

Attackers

Academy player of the 2021/22 season Dan Gifford is set for another loan in 2022/23 with Weymouth after a successful spell with Bognor.

He hit 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Rocks, on top of 14 in 17 for the Academy last season and was praised by Danny Cowley for his pre-season performance at Barnet which included hitting the winning goal.

“I was pleased for Dan because he might have had three or four and I’m not sure how he wasn’t given a couple of penalties.”

Jamie Howell is a 2nd year scholar who is a very quick attacker. Usually right wing, but can play as a number 10.

Maxwell Hurst is a tall centre-forward who thrives on playing up against defenders. He has a strong skill level and ball control. His ability to beat a man and bring others into play supports the effectiveness of the attack.

A very willing team player, he works incredibly hard to support the team, closing opponents and winning the ball back.

Destiny Ojo joined after a successful trial last season after impressing with Isthmian League side Lancing. Unfortunately he fractured his ankle during pre-season training with the first team and is not expected to return to training until later in the year.

Gabriel Kamavuako signed following a successful trial last year. He’s noted as quick, direct and works extremely hard

New scholars – missing Brian Quarm who signed afterwards Photo: Colin Farmery

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