Awford no qualms about returning to day job

Andy Awford was asked to step up to take care of the first team as caretaker boss Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford was asked to step up to take care of the first team as caretaker boss Picture: Joe Pepler

It’s back to the day job for Andy Awford following another SOS stint with the first-team.

The Pompey hall-of-famer answered the call to serve as caretaker boss for three matches while the club searched for a successor to Guy Whittingham.

Last season he fulfilled a similar request to operate as Whittingham’s assistant for 30 matches, before returning to his Academy manager role over the summer.

Now the arrival of Richie Barker as Blues boss ensures Awford can become acquainted with his youth-team duties on a full-time basis once more.

Certainly timely with a trip to Southampton in the FA Youth Cup tomorrow.

Still, with two draws, a defeat, and a handful of what might have beens during his short spell at the first-team helm, Awford has steadied the ship.

And he has no qualms about going back once again to join up with Paul Hardyman and Co in the youth set-up.

‘I’ve got a job, a great job and am proud and privileged to be Academy manager,’ said Awford.

‘I love working with the lads from the under-18s all the way down, improving them and getting them out on that pitch – and I will continue to do that.

‘I have been here nearly four years as Academy manager and we have worked really hard to get it where it is, through all the tough times we have had.

‘We have managed to keep certain boys who could have wandered and managed to get other boys in we quite like. There are other boys that we lost and you cannot have everything your own way.

‘In the summer it wasn’t a difficult one to go back in because the staff are fantastic. There are some really good people who work there and should get more recognition publicly.

‘You know myself, Paul (Hardyman), Mark Chamberlain and Mark Kelly – we are the ex-players – but there are so many more in there that do such a good job that don’t get enough credit, in my opinion.

‘That’s why it’s easy to go back because it is set and ready to go. We have worked so hard to create that environment that everybody’s happy and able to work to their best ability.

‘Me going back to work in the summer and then this week won’t be a problem, it’s quite easy.’

Awford still harbours a desire to one day have the opportunity to become Pompey manager.

That day is not present, although, clearly, his role in the Academy is still accompanied with plenty of passion and ambition.

And he has pledged to be supportive of the new boss at the Fratton Park.

He added: ‘One day would I like to be a manager? Yes, probably, and then it is the timing of it.

‘Will the opportunity ever come around again? Probably, because what’s the average manager’s life span these days – a year, two maybe?

‘But with the new manager coming in, I am happy to go back and work in the Academy and support him in whatever way I can. It’s important he knows that when he comes in the door – because you have to be all together.

‘The type of man I am, I will be right behind the new manager because you have got to do what is best for the club.’