Awford explains skipper’s omission

Adam Webster gets his marching orders Picture: Ashley Zee
Adam Webster gets his marching orders Picture: Ashley Zee

Andy Awford shrugged off the decision that saw him axe his skipper for the win over Cambridge as he insisted: It’s part of the job.

Captain Ben Chorley was left out of Saturday’s game entirely, along with Andy Barcham and Johnny Ertl, as the Blues boss admitted it had been difficult to inform them they had not made his match-day 18-man squad.

Awford said: ‘It wasn’t a difficult decision to pick the team.

‘The difficulty was telling the players who were left out – but that’s my job.

‘But they know that if they are not needed on Saturday, they might be needed on Tuesday.

‘Everybody I pick has to be ready when they are needed.

‘I just treat everybody as adults and I treat them with respect.

‘One thing I told the players at the very first meeting we had in pre-season was “you won’t like me at times, but you will always respect me”. That’s important.

‘I can only pick 11 players and seven subs so that’s the job.

‘I left Joe Devera out (on Saturday) but then he has to come on, he has to be ready, he has to be focused, and he was.

‘He was absolutely superb when he came on.

‘But I speak to the players individually before I announce the team. I think that’s the right thing to do.’

Awford also spoke to Adam Webster after the game following his red card, although he declined to elaborate on the discussion.

The Blues boss said: ‘I didn’t think the first one was a booking at the time but I have no qualms with the second one.

‘Once he has been booked, he has to go.

‘I have dealt with it already.

‘I have spoken to him. I am sure we will have another chat when the dust has settled.

‘What I said to him will remain private. I prefer to keep those things in-house.’

Awford also felt his side had earned their fortuitous second goal against the U’s for their dogged display.

He said: ‘The first one was a great goal. It was exactly what we want – get the ball wide, get great delivery into the box and it was a great header from Ryan Taylor.

‘When you work all week on things and then it pays off, it is extra special.

‘But I think we have earned the second goal, although it was a bit of luck.

‘It was a good run from Jack Whatmough, we kept the ball in there, but I don’t think we will get too many goals like that this season – although I hope we do!

‘It will probably be on Danny Baker’s Own Goals and Gaffs DVD.

‘But I think we earned that with the belief, desire and doggedness we showed.’

Watch highlights of the Pompey v Cambridge