Rebuilding For The Future
By Jim Bonner
Updated Monday, 16th July 2012
The lowdown on Pompey's eight trialists.
Michael Appleton has officially named the party who have now arrived in Spain for two pre-season friendlies against Gibraltar and Brighton.
All of the senior players have been left at home. So Greg Halford, Tal Ben-Haim, David Norris, Liam Lawrence, Erik Huseklepp, Luke Varney and Dave Kitson have all remained in Pompey with moves to be made elsewhere.
Ashley Harris, Jed Wallace, Sam Magri, Adam Webster, George Colson, Dan Butler and Dan Thompson are all of the youth professionals who got on the plane to Spain but they were joined by eight trialists.
They are Simon Eastwood, Mustapha Dumbuya, Jon Harley, Brian Howard, Simon Gillett, Lloyd Sam, Luke Rodgers and Izale McLeod. Darjan Curanovic, the goalkeeper who previously expressed his joy at linking up with Pompey, has had his trial cut short and has been replaced by an unnamed, experienced goalkeeper.
But who are these eight trialists and will they be any good for League One Portsmouth? Here is some information on each player looking to impress Michael Appleton.
Simon Eastwood (Goalkeeper, Aged 23)
Eastwood has found first-team appearances hard to come by in his career so far, making just 46 games since 2006 and only playing 11 times for Halifax Town last season.
The young goalkeeper started out at Huddersfield Town and was loaned to Woking and Bradford, making his debut in a 4-0 defeat for the latter before eventually being sent back to his parent club because he was "too inexperienced".
However, people have clearly seen that Eastwood has talent having made the England U-18 and U-19 squads in the past and perhaps Appleton can bring the potential out of the Luton lad.
Mustapha Dumbuya (Right Back, Aged 24)
Pompey fans would have seen Dumbuya last season as he was part of the Doncaster side that finished bottom of the Championship last season.
Despite this, Donny fans seem to think that he was a good player for them and is moe than capable of doing a job in League One and he can also play as a right winger too if necessary.
Mustapha was born in England but plays his international football for Sierra Leone.
Jon Harley (Left Back/Left Midfielder, Aged 32)
Seen by some as a spent force, Jon spent some of last season on loan at League Two Rotherham before being released by County. Appy is hoping to get a little more out of a player who gives his all, but seems to have lost his way.
Brian Howard (Midfielder, Aged 29)
If Howard does end up signing for Portsmouth, he'll have a harder time than most in winning over the fans as he is a bona-fide Southampton supporter.
Having never managed to break into the Saints team as a youth, Howard began his career at Swindon but is most remembered for his time at Barnsley, where he scored a last-minute winner to knock Liverpool out of the 2008 FA Cup and was subsequently named in the division's team of the season.
Despite being a Scummer, I think if Appy could secure Howard's services for the upcoming season it would be a coup. Having scored 41 goals from midfield at Championship level, he should be able to bang in a few in League One.
Simon Gillett (Midfielder, Aged 26)
Like Howard, Gillett is another player with Southampton connections having spent time in their youth team although he was born in Oxford.
Gillett is quite a tidy player at League One level and has been praised by Blackpool and Bournemouth fans in particular before he made the permanent move to Doncaster.
Predominantly played on the wings, Gillett is another player who I believe will be an asset to the Pompey team if the fans can get over the fact he used to play for them lot down the road. He scores the occasional goal but also chips in with a fair few assists for his team too.
Lloyd Sam (Winger, Aged 27)
Another player who was expected to make it big as a youngster, Sam has spent most of his career at Charlton Athletic but despite being an impressive performer in the Championship, the Addicks couldn't afford to keep him after their relegation to League One and he was signed by Leeds.
Despite starting his Elland Road career well, Lloyd's career became blighted by injuries and he was loaned to Notts County, for whom he scored a hat-trick against Yeovil during last season.
Now a free agent, Sam would be a high quality performer in League One if he stays injury free. Appy would do well to secure his signature.
Luke Rodgers (Striker, Aged 30)
Rodgers is known as a bit of a "bad boy" of the lower leagues and has had a few run ins with the law.
He was arrested for alleged assault on a Hartlepool player in 2002, given 100 hours community service and a £5,000 fine for misfiring a firework at a 16-year-old girl in the same year and given a caution in 2009 for causing a disturbance in Nottingham.
As a player, Rodgers has scored 116 goals in a career mainly played in the lower divisions, particularly for Shrewsbury, although his last two seasons have been played for New York Red Bulls and Lillestrom.
It's difficult to predict how Rodgers would perform in a Pompey shirt buy given that he once struggled to get into a Crewe team ahead of Luke Varney, he may not cut it at Fratton Park.
Having said that, an average of a goal just over every three games isn't terrible and if given the chance, he just might take it.
Izale McLeod (Striker, Aged 27)
McLeod's career has blown hot-and-cold during his time in Leagues One and Two. His goalscoring records at MK Dons (54 in 116 apps) and Barnet (32 in 73 apps) are impressive and he once commanded a fee of over £1 million as Charlton shelled out for his services in 2007.
However, that move didn't work out as he scored just three goals in 31 games before loan moves to Colchester, Millwall and Peterborough that never worked out.
Having finished last season as League Two's joint-top goalscorer on 18 goals, it's safe to say that McLeod is too good for the bottom division. But is he good enough for the third tier?
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