Date:Thursday October 31 2013
Every fan at every club wants them to have an Ashley Harris type.
We all want one of our own, a local lad, to come through the club set-up and break into the 1st team squad and make a major impact on the starting XI.
Harris was one of those that lived the dream with Pompey...
I think it is an understatement to say that the last few years have been dark, we had a few highlights and some bright moments though that included a few players restoring a bit of faith in the football kind and some younger players coming through our own set-up at Fratton.
Some have fallen by the wayside, others are still there or thereabout but in the case of Harris (which shows what a rollercoaster recent years have been, as despite his youthful age is our longest serving player) he is just 'here'...
One of the highlights as we slipped from the championship was meant to be Harris coming through, and looking as though he was a decent enough talent.
His best showing at that level being when he came on against Doncaster and made a huge difference in the 4-3 win at the Keepmoat - I am sure it was that game, although often these days games merge into one!
League one proved another struggle for Pompey, with Harris finding it tough going and getting a place in the starting XI rarely came along.
The definite highlight of his campaign last season being his appearances as a goalscoring sub, as he changed the game coming on, in the 3-0 win at Crawley.
His face did not quite fit under Michael Appleton but a great show of support was shown by Guy Whittingham in one of his first, if not first games in caretaker charge, when he not only turned to Harris but turned to him as a starter as a central striker in the defeat at Bury.
It did not really go for him that afternoon at Gigg Lane, but that November afternoon (I am sure it was November last year) did not go for anyone as we slumped to an all too often occurrence of another defeat...
Harris was in and our of the side, but more out and this past pre-season Whittingham made it perfectly clear (more than once) that proving himself was a must for him this season.
What is Harris' best position though, and is this hampering him?
I think he sees himself as a central striker, but is he 'too small' and 'too lightweight' to do this. Often used as a wide player, depending on what side he has played on he has done a job but all in all his greatest impact has been as just that, 'an impact player' but no one wants to be labelled with that tag, do they?
This season he has not even had that chance.
Reading between the lines it seemed pretty clear in the summer that he does not really seem to feature in Whittingham's plans, I would suggest that giving someone permission to play in the FA cup for a club that he is on loan at pretty much makes that much clear?
What has gone wrong with Harris though?
Perhaps it was blinkered eyes, given that he was 'one of our own', when he came through and he was not as bright a prospect as first looked. He did look a much better, and brighter, prospect for our future than the flickering light we now see him as though.
As I say he looked ok when he first came through but instead of progressing and shining as we slipped through the leagues he has appeared to regress and been more and more of a bit part player (at best) when you would have thought, or at least hoped, he would step up and becoming a shining light the lower we went through the leagues...
Ironically enough his loan spell this season at Havant ended up being blocked by another of his Pompey teammates when Ryan Bird followed him to Westleigh Park - a loan spell at the Hawks did not work for either player!
Quite often I have been a little critical of some players being sent out on loan, especially this season, when I felt that perhaps they should have been more involved in the 1st team but we have seen a few instances in recent times where these loan spells have benefited the players, and us.
In all honesty I would still question the loaning out of some, or little to no involvement being given, but maybe Harris is a player that suffered from not going out on loan when perhaps he was at a stage in his career when he needed this?
A 'needs must' situation with him needed at Fratton, quite often when Harris was around the 1st team but rarely playing, robbed him that chance of playing regular football that he could have got from a loan spell, and perhaps with hindsight needed to aid his development...
This season Harris has been on the bench, off it, out on loan, on the bench and off it again but throughout this spell he would have done little to 'prove himself' to anyone and with his contract (I think) ending next summer if he is with Pompey next season I would be amazed!
At this point I worry where he will end up?
Hopefully Harris can go out on loan again, do the business, come back to Fratton and prove his worth before it is out, but that seems the fairytale scenario but a happily ever after ending to the Harris story with Pompey would appear highly unlikely.
I do hope I am wrong mind...
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Date:Thursday October 31 2013
The month ahead...December (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Pompey vs Wycombe (Wednesday December 4 2013)
Pompey predictions league update #18 (Wednesday December 4 2013)
On this day in history...4th December (Wednesday December 4 2013)
The month that was... (Tuesday December 3 2013)
On this day in history...3rd December (Tuesday December 3 2013)
Edinburgh approach rejected (Monday December 2 2013)
On this day in history...2nd December (Monday December 2 2013)
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Jamo & Hermann double act? (Sunday December 1 2013)
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» Southend : 04/12/2013 21:07:00
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|Pompey vs Wycombe
» Portsmouth : 04/12/2013 16:24:00