Awford: Changes needed in January

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford admits he is looking to make more changes to his Pompey squad in the January transfer window.

The Blues boss already has his ideas on how he wants to make improvements, although he has yet to set the wheels in motion as he looks to bring in more new faces to the ranks.

But Awford also knows he must trim back a squad that has too many professionals sitting in the stands every game.

And he believes he will have a clearer picture on the club’s transfer plans this week.

Awford said: ‘I haven’t approached any clubs about potential January deals yet.

‘There are three games I am focused on but, of course, you start to plan ahead.

‘There will probably be some business done. I’m not sure they will be permanents because before we can bring anyone in, some will have to go.

‘We’ve got too many players for a League Two club, as I’ve said before, so some have to go.

‘As a club, we are talking to see where that goes. It hasn’t been decided yet but that will probably be this week where we work out where we want to go with it.

‘We will identify the areas where we feel we need to improve.

‘I am getting there with what I want to do but there are a few more games before we have to make that final decision.’

Including the six loan players, Pompey currently have 33 professionals on the books.

Three of those in Wes Fogden, Tom Craddock and James Dunne are out with injury, while another three in Patrick Agyemang, Brad Tarbuck and Jack Maloney are out on loan.

Awford confirmed the number of loan players at the club will be addressed and he is also exploring the possibility of turning existing loan deals into permanent signings, with Paul Robinson among those in discussions.

The Blues boss said: ‘You can only have five loans in your match-day squad so I am not going to fill it up with 10 or 12 loans and have six or seven sat in the stands every week.

‘If there is a loan player that we want to make a permanent signing and his parent club want to do it, he wants to do it and it fits into the budget, then fine.

‘But bringing in a permanent signing is a lot more expensive so that has to be taken into account.

‘We’ve got the six players on loan at the moment.

‘Marcus Bean, Matt Fish and Lee Holmes are shorter term than Paul Robinson, Miles Storey and Alex Wynter.

‘Miles and Alex are both here for the season but there is an option to break it in January.

‘It’s not just us – Swindon or Crystal Palace could decide to end their loans.

‘But they will all be assessed individually on how we think we can move forward.

‘There is a lot to consider.’