Gallen backs Lethbridge to blossom into a Portsmouth handful for defences

Bradley Lethbridge possess the raw physicality to be a handful in Pompey’s shirt.

That’s the verdict of Joe Gallen, who believes the 18-year-old’s first-team debut demonstrates his ongoing blossoming.

Bradley Lethbridge made his Pompey debut in the Checkatrade Trophy tie with Spurs under-21s at Fratton Park. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

Bradley Lethbridge made his Pompey debut in the Checkatrade Trophy tie with Spurs under-21s at Fratton Park. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

The Gosport youngster, who is currently on loan at Bognor, was granted his Blues bow in last night’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Spurs under-21s.

He featured for 65 minutes, before being replaced by Oli Hawkins in the 3-2 Fratton Park success.

With Brett Pitman suffering from a slight knee strain, Lethbridge received a maiden call-up – and Gallen has been impressed with the striker.

Pompey’s assistant manager said: ‘There’s a pecking order of things and sometimes it’s best not putting somebody into a position which they don’t normally play.

‘Brett (Pitman) would have played, he is fine, it’s just precautionary, so it was going to be Bradley or Dan Smith.

‘Dan could have been ahead of him, but he has been injured, out for a long time, so it wouldn’t have been right to throw him in there.

‘Brad is a strong player, a physical player, but young players don’t quite know how to use their bodies, it takes a bit of time.

‘He really needs to work on that, picking on a weak centre-half and bullying him, pinning him and putting his backside in and holding the ball up.

‘That will be a starting point because once you do that you’ve got a game as a forward, that can be your game. Hold the ball up, get into the box and head it in – that’s as basic as things need to be at times. 

‘Bradley has the physical strength, the body shape and the type. In order to do that, he has to keep learning and practicing, making the ball stick and holding it up.

‘That’s his game – and he’s able to take some chances and score.’