You know you're getting older when Pompey line-ups at Crewe are getting younger
By Site reporter
Friday 01 Mar 2013 21:14:00
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Beasant, Buxton, Cooper, Waterman, Vincent, Curtis, Barrett, Quashie, Crouch, Biagini, Vine, Tardif, Zamperini, Pettefer, Harper, Lovell. The 16 players who represented Pompey on their last visit to Crewe. Plenty remarked at the time it was one of the youngest Blues teams seen in a long time (despite Beasant's presence) - but it was nothing compared to the likely average age of the squad who will carry Pompey's hopes this time.

 

Guy Whittingham is having to reply increasing on young players who have only just come through the Fratton youth ranks as he tries to salvage some points and pride from this wreck of a season, and, generally speaking, they're doing him proud.

Tuesday night's draw with MK Dons brought a first - four of those youngsters on the pitch at the same time, in the form of Dan Butler, Jed Wallace, Adam Webster and Ashley Harris. All seem certain to be involved again as Pompey try to do their first (and only?) double of the season at Gresty Road.

Only in the season opener at Plymouth have Pompey relied more heavily on youth, and that was because Michael Appleton had been unable to get clearance to sign the senior players he had lined up for the squad.

Those senior players did sign, but almost all have left since and it's once again the young players who are left to lead Pompey into battle - not ideal, perhaps, but good preparation for next season, when they're likely to feature heavily in the expected League Two campaign.

Pompey head to Crewe for the first time since that aforementioned line-up nabbed a 1-1 draw in March 2002. And they do so buoyed by a run of three draws in their last four - scant help, perhaps, in their seemingly-in-vain efforts to move away from the bottom of the table but progress of sorts after nine straight defeats.

Whittingham's men are still without the suspended Sam Sodje, while full-back Shaun Cooper faces a late fitness test. Tuesday's back four could well all keep their places.

David Connolly is likely to start again up front after his first Blues goal against MK, with Patrick Agyemang his most likely partner.

Aygemang goes into the game encouraged by Pompey's recent form. He told the club website: 'I’ve been pleased with my contribution so far. I’m a player who can hold up the ball and bring others into the game.

'There haven’t been an awful lot of chances coming my way, but I’m hoping that will change. I’m confident that, if the opportunities arrive, I will get goals for Pompey. You have to take it one game at a time here because nobody is quite sure what will happen.

'But I’m professional and won’t take anything for granted. We’re not certain what’s going on with the points deduction and if we go on a run of wins then it’s not inconceivable to get out of our current position. Things seem to changing and if we can get that first vital win under our belts, who knows what it will start. That’s the way we have to look at it.'

You have to go back to March 2000 to find Pompey's last win at Crewe, a team they've visited only seven times in their history. If they can find anything like that result again, it will be a major cause for celebration. For those who need reminding, it's now 23 games since the Blues' last win - against Shrewsbury on October 20.

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