Date: 30th April 2009 at 12:09pm
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…and this delights me!

Matt Ritchie, who I have high hopes for, has today – with what he told The News – confirmed that he has been offered a new 2-year contract, which pleases me greatly, as does his determination to be successful with Pompey: ‘my main goal, though, is to play for Pompey. They are the team I support and that is my dream. Whatever it takes to achieve that I’ll do it.

‘I’ve been offered a two-year deal now and I want to sign it because I see my future here.

‘The club have been really good. Paul Hart speaks to me every now and then and has always been very supportive.

‘When Guy Whittingham came in he informed me he would also be watching my progress and that’s such a massive boost.

‘Hopefully I can get noticed. Of course I haven’t made it yet, I realise that.

‘My mum and dad keep my feet on the ground. There’s still a long, long way to go and hopefully one day I can get into the first team.’

Not only does the thought of another youngster coming through excite me, the thought of a local youngster coming through excites me even more so I pray he is given this chance to do so.

I really do have high hopes for the 19-year-old who has benefited greatly from his loan with Dagenham this season – a loan that has seen the left winger score an impressive 11 goals in 36 league appearances, including two crackers at the weekend.

I am delighted to hear that he has been offered a new deal as I was worried we could let him go in the summer and I feel certain that he will play a part in the 1st team next season, well at least I hope so…

On the loan spell itself with the league two club, who would claim a play-off place if they beat Shrewsbury this weekend, Ritchie has enjoyed it with him praising Dagenham manager John Still: ‘it’s been a fantastic year for me. I couldn’t have predicted it would go as well as this.

‘Obviously I wanted to play first-team football somewhere and Dagenham & Redbridge has proven to be the right club.

‘John Still has been very understanding, especially on the physical side of it. I’ve been commuting from Gosport and he’s given me time off to recover when I’ve needed it.’

Assuming Dagenham do clinch that play-off spot this weekend I will be paying particular attention to the league two play-offs, and all being well will be able to watch him in the league two play-off final, which I would assume takes place on either Friday or Saturday 22nd or 23rd May? We do not play Wigan until the Sunday, so no problems there then.

Remember the name Matt Ritchie, I have this feeling we will be hearing more about him next season – he will certainly be my ‘player to watch’ if I am asked to do an interview in 442 magazine again this summer…


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