Date:Wednesday June 30 2010
Pompey's numbers for the 2010/11 season have been boosted by two at least after it was confirmed that Joel Ward and Tom Kilbey have both signed contract extensions.
Ward, a local lad from Emsworth, was ALWAYS likely to sign this contract, a 2-year one, as the 20-year-old had made no secret of his desire to extend his Pompey stay and one day captain the club that he has been with since the age of 8 - he told The Pompey Site: 'I'm delighted to sign an extension. It's a great opportunity to progress, break into the first team and then hold onto my place.
'Having been at Pompey since I was eight and having been a fan I absolutely love the club and just want to continue to be here.
'To go through the ranks like I have and to be in this position on the brink of pushing to play a lot of games is not only a great achievement for me but a dream.'
His chance came under two former Pompey managers last season, firstly Paul Hart, who gave him his debut in the league cup before injury set him back for several months.
He says he was grateful to Hart for this: 'I was grateful to Paul Hart and his management team when I got my chance for a first-team debut against Hereford.
'That had me hoping that I would get a few more games in the cup competitions, but I was sidelined with injuries.'
It was under Uncle Avram that Ward's opportunity in the league came and he was involved in a number of squads towards the end of the season, playing a few games - including a start at Wigan: 'starting in the Premier League was another dream and I'm thankful to Avram Grant for that opportunity.
'There was nothing to lose and I just went out to enjoy the game, giving my all, which is what I do every match.'
I am REALLY happy that Ward has committed as I think the guy has a decent future ahead of him - he was used mostly as a right back, and may well again this season, although to be honest he is clearly a better central defender and very much looks the part.
The dream of captaining Pompey one day is one that I could see him fulfilling...
As for Kilbey, in all honesty I have not seen much, if anything, about the guy really but have only heard good things about him from his reserve outings and he also came to Fratton with a good reputation from his Millwall days.
The 19-year-old has signed a 1-year contract and is looking to make his breakthrough this season: 'this is the year where I'm looking to progress
'Last season a couple of the lads got a chance in the first team but now with everything that's going on and a new manger coming in, I can hopefully show him what I can do.
'I found it quite a smooth transition from youth team to reserve team football but I know Championship football is a different level again.'
The midfielder has yet to make his 1st team debut with Pompey but has some experience of professional football with Millwall and is looking for more here next season, and I reckon there is every chance he will get it: 'I got a taste of first-team football at Millwall at 16 and although that gave me confidence it was the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy, so I can`t really say I`ve done anything at the moment.
'I'm 19 now and want to be knocking on the first-team door. Hopefully the manager will be looking at the players he has at the club - and I believe in myself enough to make progress here.'
Again, as with Ward, I am more than happy to see Kilbey commit his future to the club.
Lets face it, and maybe particularly in the case of Kilbey, it is 'probably' likely that a chance 'may well' not have come along had our circumstances been different but what I know is I think that these guys, and others of their age group and standing, WILL NOT let us down next season as they will be well up for it!
'Maybe' they will not have the quality that many have become 'accustomed to', and maybe they will not always get the results we want, but if they give it everything and play with passion, pride and commitment for the club, the shirt and the fans - as I am sure they will - that will do me fine.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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Date:Wednesday June 30 2010
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