Boss throws down gauntlet to Harris

Pompey forward Ashley Harris Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey forward Ashley Harris Picture: Joe Pepler

Ashley Harris has been challenged to find the consistency needed to make the grade.

Guy Whittingham has told the promising young starlet he needs to find a solid run of form in Pompey’s first team.

The 19-year-old made 29 appearances in his first full season at Fratton Park, scoring three goals during the 2012-13 campaign.

Despite scoring in the final game of the season against Shrewsbury, Harris’ form fluctuated during that time and Whittingham feels he needs to make a continued impact if he’s to impress.

‘Things started well for Ashley,’ said the Pompey boss.

‘Then he’s had a dip and couldn’t get in the team.

‘That probably sums up Ash, really.

‘If he wants to do it and he’s determined enough, he’ll do it.

‘I’m glad he scored that goal against Shrewsbury because it showed his persistence.

‘He hasn’t played for along time, so it’s a case of him trying to play where we want him to play.

‘We’re trying to make sure one comes short and one goes long.

‘Ash likes to go to the ball. That’s where Dave (Connolly) is helpful because he’ll stretch it a bit.

‘I’m pleased that he scored, though, and he’s doing okay.’

Whittingham also had a warning for Pompey’s young guns that regular first-team football will not be a given next season.

He said: ‘We have promising players at this football club.

‘That doesn’t mean we will have five or six players from the Academy playing every week next season.

‘They have to step up to the mark.

‘This is men’s football now.

‘It’s not a case of playing 75 per cent of the games because that’s what you do with the Academy.

‘Now it’s a case of whoever is best plays. If they have the appetite they will be playing.’