Following on from last weekend’s article with a bit of a background information on some of the new trialists, two more have joined up with the Pompey squad today, with another one expected shortly but is sidelined due to food poisoning.
Here’s a bit more on them….
David Preece - The 35-year-old goalkeeper, who joins fellow goalkeeper Simon Eastwood at Pompey’s Spanish training camp, is another goalkeeper with very little Football League experience.
Preece, who is a free agent after being released by Barnsley, made just seven appearances in his three year stay at Oakwell – only making one last season, coincidentally in a 1-0 loss to our South-Coast rivals.
Born in Sunderland, Preece came through the ranks of the Sunderland academy, but failed to ever break in to the first team. After failing to impress at the Stadium of Light, he joined non-league Darlington, making over 100 appearances in all competitions during a two-year stay.
It wasn’t long before Preece was picked up, but this time he was off to Scotland – Aberdeen bought the goalkeeper for £300,000 in July 1999 and remained at Aberdeen until 2005. However Preece failed to tie down a regular spot – making only 106 appearances in five years.
The shot stopper then went off to Denmark to give the Danish Superliga a try after signing for Silkeborg IF on a free transfer – making 74 appearances, before heading to league rivals OB Odense but failing to ever make an appearance.
Barnsley brought him back to England in 2009 on a free transfer, but it seems now is his time to show what he can do at Pompey! He’s not the young Premier League goalkeeper suggested by Michael Appleton, but with two relatively unknown keepers on trial with the club, Appleton will surely be on the look out for another one – the original goalkeeper penciled in for the trip has suffered a family bereavement and therefore will not meet up with the squad in Spain and remains unnamed!
Julien Lopez - A pretty much unknown player – information is pretty hard to find on this Spanish-born left-sided midfielder. Lopez is a free agent after being released by French champions Montpellier HSC.
The 20-year-old midfielder was previously at amateur side Young Aubagne but was recognised by the French champions and broke in to the reserve team – however the young midfielder has found it hard to make appearances. Although he was born in Madrid, Spain, Lopez is of dual nationality – Spanish/Algerian.
After his release from Montpellier it seemed he had joined AC Arles-Avignon, but a chance at a trial with Pompey during their Spanish tour seems to have got Lopez looking elsewhere.
Sotoris Balafas - Not a name that many Pompey fans will recognise, and it doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue easily either. Balafas is a Greek centre-back/defensive midfielder.
The 25-year-old is yet to meet up with the Pompey squad after suffering with food poisoning, but is expected to join up with the rest of the trialists shortly. Born in Arta, Balafas started his career at local side Anagennisi Artas before being picked up by Greek giants PAOK in 2005 for €80,000.
Whilst the young defender was sent out for separate loans at PAS Giannina and Ergotelis in 2009 and 2010, Balafas has made over 100 appearances for PAOK – making 15 this season and scoring on two occasions as well.
Balafas even has experience in the Europa League with PAOK – making nine appearances in the competition – and scoring the winning goal against FC Karpaty Lviv, Balafas became somewhat of a fan favourite, but now is the time for the youngster to move on and take the opportunity to impress in the English leagues – starting with Pompey!