In-form Academy warned against cup complacency

Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris, centre, briefs his players. Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey Academy coach Mikey Harris, centre, briefs his players. Picture: Neil Marshall

MIKEY HARRIS has warned Pompey Academy that form counts for very little ahead of their FA Youth Cup tie at Thamesmead tonight (7.15pm).

The Blues are unbeaten in their past nine games in all competitions and will begin the second-round clash at their non-league opponents as overwhelming favourites.

But Harris, who was an interested spectator as Kent Youth League side Thamesmead caused an upset in the first round by beating Dartford 4-3, is expecting a difficult challenge for the Fratton youngsters.

He said: ‘It’s going to be a tough game, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘Yes, we are nine games unbeaten but that doesn’t mean anything.

‘We have a simple saying in the youth team – the game is happening now.

‘If we go into tonight’s game thinking we are nine games unbeaten then we are not thinking about what is happening in the present.

‘We can’t afford to take our minds off the game or lose focus – if we do then we are going to give ourselves problems.’

Harris, who oversaw his side’s third successive win in the Youth Alliance League at Exeter on Saturday, admits confidence is sky high in the Pompey camp.

And with the added incentive of a home tie with Bolton Wanderers awaiting the victors, he has called on his side to do themselves justice in south east London.

‘It’s great we are on this run and the lads have got confidence,’ said Harris.

‘That’s what I want them to take into tonight’s game – confidence.

‘Everyone knows if we win we are looking at a home tie against Bolton in the third round.

‘I am sure the Fratton faithful will come out and get behind the boys if we can do the business tonight. But first, we must earn that right.’

The Blues are at full-strength for the tie, with defender Chad Field recovering from the groin injury that saw him miss the weekend’s win at the Grecians.

Harris added: ‘Chad’s involvement is a big 
plus because he is a 
very talented young footballer.

‘We will be going 
there with a full-strength side.’

– JEFF MARSHMAN