Date: 1st August 2009 at 10:05am
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Pompey might have been beaten 2-0 by Vitoria last night, but we were by no means disgraced in what turned out to be a farcical game that ‘seemed’ to leave the odds stacked against Pompey!

You had a donkey of a ref that was not giving much Pompey’s way, but gave most the way of the home side and rules – particularly surrounding subs – ‘appeared’ to be altered to suit the home side but none of this could dampen Paul Hart’s spirits when he spoke to The Pompey Site after, taking the positives from this…

Hart on the youngsters

‘I think they all did very well. It was a big challenge for them but they worked very hard as a unit.

‘It was a big game for many of them, being just 17 and 18-years-old. They picked up an awful lot to add to their experience and they’ll benefit from it.

‘I’m very proud of them. They played well against a side that finished eighth in the Portuguese top-flight last season. They held their own for the majority of the game.’

With teenagers, and academy graduates James Hurst, Gautier Mahoto, Matt Ritchie and Paris Cowan-Hall all given starts and the slightly older, yet still inexperienced Marc Wilson and Joel Ward, not forgetting Martin Cranie, all given starts that meant 7 from the 11, including 6 of our own academy graduates, that started the match were very young and inexperienced but all, from the sounds of it, held their own and gave good accounts of themselves.

Quite how many of these will be around for the long-term future at Pompey remains uncertain, but one thing that does seem almost certain is with a little more experience under their belts – and this trip alone will have helped – maybe in the form of a loan move somewhere all of the above, some closer than others, could and would do a job for Pompey. Some I have very high hopes for…

We might not have created much but all, but even the attack-minded youngsters played their part defensively and showed they will act as a unit. Yep, a very mature attitude from many of them.

Hart on discipline

‘It was obviously made more difficult when we went down to 10 men but they kept their shape and discipline and will take a lot from the match.’

I feared that Cowan-Hall would be sent off, not because he deserved to, but because the officials were so poor – it was one of those things that you could sense…

As the decisions got worse and worse against Pompey we could have easily lost it, but like Hart said they kept their heads and the shape and plenty will have been gained by these youngsters.

It is just a shame, not to say that he would be involved anyway, that this ridiculous sending off for Cowan-Hall – who seems really impressive – will cause him to miss the start of the season.

Hart on Hughes

‘Richard felt his calf tighten. He came off straight away but I don’t think it’s torn, so we’ll have a look at that later.’

Richard Hughes was one of the few senior men on display last night, at least from the start, but he did not last very long as he soon had to be replaced by Eugen Bopp – who again did little from the sounds of it and, sorry, just is not good enough – due to a calf problem.

Hopefully it is not too bad, although it is not like we are short of defensive minded midfielders that can step in!

Hart on The Herminator

‘Hermann’s done a little bit of running. So we’ll see how that develops.

‘We’ll have to see how it goes but hamstrings are notoriously difficult to get right.’

In his first outing of pre-season against Eastleigh on Monday The Herminator damaged his hamstring, The News seems to think that he is a ‘serious doubt’ for the start of the season but Hart, whilst probably remaining upbeat, is not being the scaremonger that The News is! Chances are he will, but they lay it on heavy today…

‘If’ The Herminator missed out I would expect Nadir Belhadj – assuming he stays – to fill in, but if not, despite his very young age and it being a baptism of fire I would not be overly concerned if we turned to Hurst, who I must say I have been very impressed with from what I have seen, although I thought he was a right back?

All in all, despite not being able to create enough going forward, which to be fair became even harder with 10 men, a useful if ‘strange’ run-out for Pompey with positives to be gained.

PLAY UP POMPEY!


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