Portsmouth academy coach Woan impressed by new signings

Portsmouth youth coach Ian Woan is delighted with the quality of this year's academy signings.

The Blues have signed 14 new scholars with Max Carter, Perry Ryan, Ellis Martin, Mark Smith, Nadir Ciftci, Daniel Bogard, Nicholas Watts, Billy Goddard, Liam O'Brien, Peter Gregory, James Hurst, Gael Nlundulu, Lennard Sowah and Gautier Mohoto all putting pen to paper.

Academy Team Coach Woan is excited at the prospect of one or more of those players breaking into the first team.

And he believes that the work done by Director of Youth Operations Paul Hart has been a major factor in attracting promising youngsters to the south coast.

"Paul came into the club last February and the turnaround has been amazing," Woan told the club's website. "It doesn't surprise me because I've worked with Paul before and he is the best in the country at what he does, no doubt about that.

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"The Chief Executive and the owner have backed him 100 percent which has been a big plus.

"We've brought in a number of new players this summer and they're definitely a better quality than we brought in last year.

"Now it's all about getting those players into the first team.

"We released seven players at the end of the season and Matt Ritchie and Joel Ward graduated to a first-year pro. That was deserved because they had a good season. They progressed and showed they were going in the right direction.

"We don't want to see Matt and Joel training with us next season. We want to see them training with the first-team squad.

"We've signed 14 first-years which gives us a huge amount of bodies. We're going to have 29 players next year so there will be an awful lot of competition for places.

"Harry Redknapp, Tony Adams and Joe Jordan will be looking at these players and hopefully thinking 'we want him'. That's what we want to see.

"It's a cliche that we've got a four or five-year plan but if we can get a player in the first team in that time then it'll be a great moment for everybody involved in the academy and a great achievement as well."

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