The end of the development squad
Pompey are to call time of the development squad...again!
This, to act as a bridging gap between the academy and 1st team, was brought back in 2010 but Richie Barker has decided that the academy talent coming through now needs to be ready to step straight into the 1st team as they will now longer have the buffer of the development squad.
If Barker is going to give youngsters a chance that are deemed good enough, from the age of 16 or 17 upwards, happy days so part of me understands this reasoning although another is worried about what this actually means for the future of our academy?
All being well it does not mean this is the first steps taken into disbanding the academy, which remember - not that I am saying this will happen - was something that had been viewed as perhaps being removed as part of the takeover.
We need to be self-sufficient and if we cannot be bringing through our own players, which we will not without an academy, we cannot do that.
Having just a handful of players in the development squad does, basically, make it pointless but I still feel that we need something to act as a bridge between the academy and 1st team, but something that can also act as an area for 1st team players to get some football if they are out of that picture or coming back from injury.
This is where reserve football comes into its own.
If we have a squad of 1st team players, including youngsters, of 20-30 then there must be a benefit to a reserve side coming back - over age players could play in development games but a reserve team play regularly in a league so is a worthwhile exercise surely?
I agree with Barker that, without the facilities and funds available to justify such an outlay, a development squad is not a priority for a club in our position but once again maintain my view that some form of bridging gap is.
Hence a reserve team being set-up again has to be something we need to be looking at again at least as without a development squad too I worry about the future of our academy...
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