Date: 7th July 2010 at 1:11pm
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Pompey have opted against taking a place in the combination league central division this season, and as such will not play reserve team football against the likes of Crawley, Aldershot, Leyton Orient, Brentford, Brighton, Palace and Gillingham…

The reserve team – as has happened in the past, to our cost – has been ‘scrapped’ for the season ahead with the club preferring to loan out youngsters instead of limiting them to reserve team football.

Maybe I am old fashioned but there is something about having a ‘reserve team’ that just seems a part of football – then again football is ever changing, sometimes for the better although sadly, for me in many ways, for the worse…

So, I know that I will miss not having a reserve team around – that said with the way our squad is looking would we actually have enough players to put out a reserve side anyway?

With the amount of players that have been released and sold, or will be sold, the 1st team numbers have/will dropped again this summer, as they have drastically over the past 18-months or so, so what would have been reserve players are now actually part of the 1st team squad, and the academy side could not have been expected to fulfil their commitments and the ressies too could they!

You ‘rarely’ see 1st team players in the reserves these days anyway, those that are do so merely to bridge that step-up gap, work on their fitness or do this as they are not in the 1st team picture – with the ability to arrange ‘behind closed doors’ friendlies, these can be used for fitness purposes.

As said I am a fan of reserve football but in all honesty you cannot beat 1st team football can you!

So, by sending those that have moved up from the academy, are on the fringes of the 1st team but are not quite ready yet for this here out on loan ‘should’ in theory only benefit them – the drawback is these players will become accustomed to 1st team football and in the modern era of patience not really being a virtue how long will players hand around at Fratton after these loan spells before they decide they have had enough and will look to move on?

Also, not everyone can be involved in the 1st team, and we cannot literally carry a skeleton squad (if possible) of 17, we would need a good 20, at least, around the club all the time to cover for injuries and suspensions – this will, of course, leave a surplus of at least 3 players, maybe more, each week that are getting no 1st team or reserve team football at all, so in terms of the financial thinking what are they actually doing, bar training, to earn their money?

That said I would hope that whatever squad we do end up this season will be utilised to its full, so it will not be a case of favourites play every week, so what happens in games and in training does contribute to who is involved as well, and this will be shaken up accordingly…

The News says that the club say this is not driven purely by a ‘financial decision’, this would have played a part in it of course, but with all due respect to those that the ressies would come up against perhaps this is the right call to make – and to be fair many other clubs are also taking this step too.

All in all though I do not think that we would have, in all honesty, enough players to be able to maintain a 1st team and reserve team anyway.

Hopefully this does remain only a temporary ‘short-term’ measure though and as we get ourselves back on our feet again, in spite of the benefits to be gained from sending players out on loan for regular 1st team football as opposed to 2nd string outings, this will be an area that returns down the line as I do think in the ‘long-term’ you do need to have a bridge gap between the academy and 1st team level, and that is also what the reserve team acts as…


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