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Pompey youngsters getting plenty of minutes from Mousinho - and plenty of praise
Monday, 17th Jul 2023 19:59 by staff

Pompey fans who have been to see the Blues in action at Bognor, Gosport and Havant in the past week have seen plenty of new signings - and numerous young hopefuls too.

John Mousinho has mixed his senior squad members with young players from the club's academy in all the friendlies - to an extent, in fact, that has surprised some Blues fans.

He is happy with his decision to do so as he eases his likely starters into action without asking too many minutes from any of them, and as he runs the rule over a number of players who could yet force their way into his plans as the 2023-24 season unfolds.

It seems particularly likely Mousinho will not be afraid to blood the young guns in cup competitions - even if they find their opportunities hard to come by in League One. A number of the youngsters must also be in line for loans.

Pompey drew 1-1 at Bognor, won 3-1 at Gosport and then ran out 1-0 winners at Havant - with Destiny Ojo among those to catch the eye, as he scored in both the latter two games. Harvey Laidlaw set up his winner at Westleigh Park and was another to impress.

Mousinho told the Pompey website after the win at Havant on Saturday afternoon: 'It was good to get another 60 minutes into a lot of our professional players and then for the young lads to come on towards the end.

'It was a young team out there for us – I think Ben Stevenson was the oldest at 26 and then everyone else was 22 or under. So we were pleased with the way the boys applied themselves and stood up to the physical challenge when Havant & Waterlooville went direct.

'To do that and then play some good football off the back of it is something that we were very happy with. Credit to the academy lads who came on as well – we saw on Friday night when they changed the game at the end.

'It’s quite a tough ask to come straight in and play senior football, but I think they’ve done really well for us this week. You could see what it meant to Destiny to score again and his performances over the past couple of days have certainly done him no harm.

'We know that Harvey has got those deliveries in him – he’s produced a lot of assists and goal contributions for the academy.'

Less than 24 hours earlier Mousinho had been equally content after the win at Gosport. clinched by two late goals. He said: 'The gale force winds and rain were coming in – it wasn’t really like any pre-season game I’d seen before! It was a different challenge for the lads and quite dramatic at the end, with the young lads coming on and doing as well as they did.

'Results aren’t particularly important in pre-season, but I was thrilled for them to have that experience after coming into the first team. Destiny was excellent and I thought that Dan Murray caught the eye in the middle of the park, while Harvey did well on the left.

'Gosport had chances and hit the post twice early in the second half, while Will Norris made a couple of good saves. They were excellent and caused us some problems, which gives us plenty to work on in training next week.'

Photo: Action Images

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