Tyler Harvey impresses Plymouth Argyle's Carl Fletcher
EXCITING 17-year-old prospect Tyler Harvey could be about to force his way into the first team reckoning at Plymouth Argyle.
Harvey has scored 10 goals for the under-18s this season, including the first two in a 3-0 win against Exeter City in the FA Youth Cup at Home Park on Wednesday.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher admitted the striker had put himself in contention for a call-up to the senior squad after recent impressive performances.
That could come as soon as the Pilgrims' tough League Two trip to Rotherham United tomorrow (3pm).
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Harvey's form has not only caught the attention of Fletcher but also a clutch of top sides.
He will complete a two-year apprenticeship with his hometown club next summer and has already agreed to sign a professional contract with the Pilgrims then.
But Herald Sport understands several Premier League clubs are keeping track on the progress of the former Ivybridge Community College student. They include Aston Villa, Everton, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, who all had scouts at Argyle under-18s' 1-0 win against Exeter City last Saturday.
Harvey scored the decisive goal in that game, before adding two more in the FA Youth Cup rematch between the two Devon rivals.
A total of 10 Premier League and four Championship clubs had scouts at Home Park on Tuesday, with 16-year-old goalkeeper Christian Walton another of Argyle's young prospects to have earned rave reviews and come under the spotlight.
Southampton's youth recruitment officer Rod Ruddick was among those in attendance, as well as Everton's Tony Fawthrop and former Torquay United manager Paul Compton, who represents West Brom.
Fletcher was also at Home Park for the FA Youth Cup tie and was suitably impressed by Harvey. When asked by Herald Sport whether the striker could come into his first team plans, he replied, without hesitation: "Yes.
"I have said it ever since I took over (as manager), it doesn't matter how old they are. If they are doing well and deserve a chance then they will get involved."
Harvey was an unused substitute when Argyle beat Aldershot Town 2-1 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round at Home Park on October 9.
Fletcher praised the Pilgrims' under-18s side for their convincing victory over Exeter, which has earned them an away tie against Oxford United or Yeovil Town in round two.
Harvey netted in the 28th and 48th minutes with two opportunistic goals, before Joshua Hutchinson completed the scoring in the closing stages.
Fletcher said: "Tyler played up front on his own and his movement is good.
"For both of his goals, the distance out didn't total more than four yards I don't think, but you could see he has been a regular scorer for the youth team the way he took them.
"He was just nice and relaxed and put them away. His goals capped off a good performance from the lads.
"You could see they were a bit edgy and nervous in the first 15-20 minutes, but once they settled into the game they dominated.
"A lot of credit has got to go to Hodgie (academy manager Kevin Hodges) and Gaz (academy head of coaching Gary Owers) for getting the lads to play the way they do. We will look forward to the next round."
Argyle will be without midfielder Conor Hourihane for the visit to Rotherham because of a one-match suspension.
Summer signing Jamie Lowry is set to make his first start for the Pilgrims as Hourihane's replacement after overcoming an ankle ligament injury.
Hourihane was booked for the fifth time this season in the 2-1 defeat away to Cheltenham Town on Tuesday.
Referee Stephen Martin deemed Hourihane had dived when he was on the receiving end of a challenge.
Fletcher, however, thought Hourihane had been fouled.
He said: "It wasn't a horrendous tackle, or anything, but it was enough to put Conor on the floor. That's my opinion.
"I went to see the ref at half-time and asked him about, and he and his three other officials all said it was a dive."
The loan spell of Watford midfielder Ross Jenkins to Argyle officially ends this weekend.
Jenkins has not played for the Pilgrims since their 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers on October 2 because of a groin injury.
He is still sidelined and will not be returning to Home Park.