Stuart Pearce says Nottingham Forest youngsters Tyler Walker and Jorge Grant have a “wonderful opportunity” to demonstrate their potential in Portugal.Pearce decided to include Walker, a striker, in his travelling party after being impressed by the 17-year-old’s movement and finishing, while midfielder Grant, 19, caught the manager’s eye with his ability on the ball.
Speaking to Forest Player at the team hotel in Braga, Pearce said: “The pair of them did extremely well in the 12 days we had back in Nottingham. They are two young players who, partly because of how well they’ve done and partly due to the availability within the squad due to injuries, have a wonderful opportunity.
“When I came through the door I said to our young players that I would give them the opportunity if they do well enough, and I’m certainly true to my word at this moment in time.”
Pearce was forced to leave a number of injured first-team players behind, including Andy Reid who picked up a niggle ahead of the trip, but trialists Mikele Leigertwood and Amadou Haidara both boarded the plane despite the former picking up an injury in the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s victory against Ilkeston.
Pearce said: “We’re looking at Mikele’s injury on a daily basis. It’s improved a little bit today and we need to give him every chance. He’s come here to impress us but we’ve got a duty of care to the player to make sure he doesn’t come back too soon.”
The Reds take on Porto B in Pedroso on Wednesday and Pearce is looking to move things up a notch for what he expects to be a tough test.
He said: “We need to get more minutes into the players. There won’t be wholesale changes at half-time.
“Porto will be very good technically and physically, and they may be slightly ahead of us in pre-season.
“But it’s a great opportunity for us to see how the players take what we’re asking them to do into a match situation.”