Pompey are leaving themselves room to manoeuvre in their Academy set-up just in case they can find the next Jed Wallace.
Andy Awford has decided to leave spaces in next season’s youth team and will continue to scour non-league football and the released lists of clubs from higher divisions in the search for another gem.
Wallace was spotted playing for Farnborough and then joined Pompey in 2011 after the Blues paid a five-figure agent’s fee to secure the midfielder.
While Pompey are unable to pay transfer fees these days, Awford is hopeful Blues chairman Iain McInnes and chief executive Mark Catlin would be sympathetic to a request if the right player became available.
The Academy chief explained: ‘We’ve got 13 to play in the youth team next season so far and I have got room for 16 in the budget.
‘So we’ve got three spaces and one of those will be for a goalkeeper. We will look at three or four of those during pre-season and take one of them.
‘And I have left a couple of spaces around in case a Jed Wallace pops up on the radar.
‘If I have to try to twist the arm of Mr McInnes or Mr Catlin to part with a few quid, then I will try to do that.
‘We wouldn’t be able to pay a transfer fee but there are other costs involved.
‘But we did it before with Jed and I think people have seen the benefits of us doing that with him. Steve Cotterill saw it as well because he used some of the first-team budget to top it up.
‘But a couple of our lads have come from other places. That has worked well for us in the past.’
– STEVE WILSON