The graft crafting Barcham into new role is paying off

  • Work on wing-back role is working for Barcham
  • Wide man had never played as a wing-back before
  • Awford unsure what total will be needed to make play-offs

ANDY AWFORD believes the work on crafting Andy Barcham into a wing-back is reaping dividends.

Barcham is aiming to keep his place in the side against Cheltenham tonight, as Pompey look to continue their winning ways.

Andy Barcham on defensive duties against Luton on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Barcham on defensive duties against Luton on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues ended a three-game run without success with a 2-0 win over Luton on Saturday – which also made it one defeat in 10 for Awford’s side.

For that game, Barcham replaced the injured Josh Passley, who is battling to return from a hamstring injury tonight.

The 27-year-old made his first start since the 2-1 defeat to Southend at on January 24.

The former Spurs trainee turned in a hard-running display in the right wing-back role.

It was the first time he’d operated in the position at senior level, with Blues boss Awford introducing the 3-5-2 system against Wycombe at the end of January.

Awford explained the coaching staff have worked with the player to make him aware of what is expected when playing as a wing-back.

And the manager is delighted with the way in which Barcham has responded to the demands of operating there.

Awford said: ‘I was pleased with Andy.

‘He’s had that little spell on the sidelines.

‘We’ve done a lot of work with him on the training ground. We’ve done a lot on that role with him, because it’s different.

‘It’s different to being a winger in a 4-4-2 or whatever.

‘He’s played in some reserve fixtures there.

‘Andy was called upon to play there on Saturday and did very well.

‘You are playing 15 yards deeper, so it’s different. But Barch has come in and done very well.

‘He’s part of the team unit and did very well.’

Saturday’s win over Luton leaves Pompey eight points off the play-offs with 10 games remaining – including tonight’s game with the Robins.

A 48-point return leaves them 22 points short of the 70-point threshold associated with making the play-offs in League Two.

Last season a tally of 71 landed York in seventh place through a powerful finale to the campaign.

Bradford did it with 69 the season before, with 72 points the highest total needed in the past five seasons and 68 the lowest.

Awford isn’t sure what the total will be this time around.

He said: ‘Everyone says get to 40 in the Premier League, but 36 seems enough.

‘Everyone says you need to know how many points it takes to make the play-offs.

‘I don’t know. All we’re going to do is get as many points as we can, and do what we can with that.

‘Where it takes us is where it takes us. I’ve said it all along.

‘Everyone beats everyone. Those results happen every week.

‘The consistent teams are the ones at the top, so we are striving to be even more consistent.

‘Now we need to get rested, recover and go again tonight.

‘It’s another game under the lights at Fratton.’