POMPEY fans are set to be given a glimpse into the future tonight.
Paul Cook is due to throw in a host of youngsters for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (JPT) clash at Exeter City.
Cook will take a fine on the chin for breaking competition rules over players who can be picked.
The likes of teenager Adam May and Academy prospect Calvin Davies are in line for appearances.
And Ben Tollitt is expected to be given his first start.
On top of that, the host of emerging talents who have shone already this season will be given the opportunity to do so again.
We are trying to push everyone in the right direction while the momentum is good.Leam Richardson
Pompey assistant manager Leam Richardson feels the time is right to give the young guns their chance.
He said: ‘They are young lads. We want them to get their heads down and play the game.
‘We are trying to push everyone in the right direction while the momentum is good.
‘It’s good to drop lads in with the pros rather than doing it when we are up against it.
‘That can be when the courage isn’t there to go and play.
‘The message is there for the supporters.
‘We don’t want them to spend x amount of money expecting to see Gary Roberts and Kyle Bennett playing. We are structuring it.
‘There’s the likes of Adam May have signed a contract and will be a top player, so he will play.
‘It won’t be a sink or swim game, it’ll be a progression. We see a good player in the kid.
‘It’s the same with Ben Close. It’s more minutes. Conor (Chaplin) is the same.
Richardson is adamant Pompey are not disrespecting the competition by their approach to tonight’s game.
He expects to see the youngsters who are used acquit themselves well – and go out and play with a fearless nature.
Richardson said: ‘There’s no disrespect to the team, competition, Exeter City or our players. We certainly won’t be disrespecting the game.
‘We’ll be going there with a team we think can win the game.
‘Me and the gaffer have been fortunate enough to reach the JPT final before.
‘It’s a great competition so you judge each game on its merits.
‘The young lads have no fear, though.In a way, they have less respect for the senior players.
‘They look at them and think they are going to take their shirts.
‘If you find a balance of hunger, respect and application they will go on.
‘The players have been around the club and manager for a certain period now.
‘I haven’t seen anything to suggest anything other than they can go on and achieve things.
‘I’ve been impressed with the so-called undergraduates – the younger players at the club.
‘The likes of Adam Webster, Conor Chaplin and Ben Close are in that category. I could name a good handful in that group.
‘I’ve been very impressed. Given the right education and pathway they can go on to be good players for Portsmouth.’