Academy Preview | Portsmouth (A)
Argyle’s Under-18s are back in action on Saturday, as they meet Portsmouth away in the third round of the Youth Alliance Cup (12 noon).
The Young Pilgrims arrive at this week’s game after losing their undefeated run against Oxford United last time out. In a game with opportunities for both sides, Way’s side showed nerve and determination but a late goal won the day for Oxford.
Portsmouth come into the game in good form, after three consecutive victories. They sit one point behind Argyle in the league, and now face a Pilgrims side looking to return to form in this cup competition.
Manager Darren Way looked back and analysed the team's performance after our first league defeat. “I think it was a great experience for the team in terms of the challenges we faced,” he said. “We knew Oxford would be a tough test, which it was, and the players effort was certainly there, it was just unfortunate. We had a lapse in concentration, but I think it will definitely help the players move forward.
“Portsmouth away: first we have to be able to deal with travel, we have to make sure that we get off the bus and be ready to start the game on the front foot. The players have adjusted themselves really well, certainly the first-years, in terms of playing Saturdays, Tuesdays, Saturdays and it will be another tough test that we are all looking forward to.
“I am expecting them to know a lot about us, I'm expecting it to be an end-to-end game, both teams that want to attack, and they are not shy of scoring goals. They’ve scored a few goals of late, and they play with real physical commitment, and we have to make sure we are ready to face that challenge.”
Joe Hatch and Freddie Issaka are available for selection once again following a terrific experience with Wales Under-17s. Joe scored two and Freddie one over a three-game in which Wales played Croatia, Sweden and Albania, winning one and drawing two, and progressing to the elite stage of Euro Under-17 qualifying.
Way took time to compliment the young Welsh duo: “Joe Hatch and Freddie Issaka have done very well, they are two players that are growing.
“I thought that Freddie’s performance against Exeter showed excellent maturity. You ask yourself or certainly, I do as a coach, does the player have the willingness to play and is he coachable? Both players are showing signs that they’ve got those attributes that you need as a footballer. For them to travel away with Wales and get the attention that they are getting is thoroughly deserved.”