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Awford Looking For New Academy Squad Keeper

Portsmouth have handed trials to three teenage keepers as they seek to solve a long-standing problem.

Pompey’s Academy squad has been without a stopper since halfway through last year’s Youth Alliance title-winning campaign. First-choice Connor O’Hara has left the club.

That meant Andy Awford had to bring in Lewis Ward, on loan from Reading, and then Luke Colquhoun, from Brighton which helped the Blues capture the Youth Alliance U18 South-East division on the final day of last season.

This summer Under-16 keeper Claude Da Costa has also left leaving a gaping hole in that area.

“We have three triallists in at the moment and a couple more coming in during pre-season,” Awford told the Portsmouth News. “We are hoping to have one signed who can serve as an apprentice and join the other six players who were last week’s intake.”

“Connor O’Hara left while our under-16 keeper has now also gone. Of the lads we are assessing at the moment, two of them are without clubs having been released.”

“A couple have been recommended who haven’t been in the system before. We are casting the net high and wide in that area, giving ourselves plenty of options.”

“The Academy goalkeeping coach, Tom Fawdry, will be looking at all of them – deciding which player has the best potential to take us forward. Knightsie (Alan Knight) is also having a little input.”

“We will take our time, we’re not going to rush into it and they will be assessed over the course of pre-season.”

Aside from the goalkeeping situation, Pompey’s seven second year apprentices have been joined by six new faces during pre-season.

Lewis Gill, Brandon Haunstrup, James Granger, Fahad Rwakarambwe, Conor Chaplin and Chad Field have all joined the club leaving Awford with a youth-team squad of 13 which can be supplemented by Under-16 players.

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