Awford happy to throw more curve balls

Adam Webster marked his shock return to the Pompey first team with the winner against Pools Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam Webster marked his shock return to the Pompey first team with the winner against Pools Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford is ready to keep springing surprises to steer Pompey to safety.

The Blues caretaker boss sprang a couple of shocks which played a key role in his side grabbing a crucial survival win over Hartlepool on Saturday.

Awford recalled Adam Webster from his loan spell at Aldershot and handed him a start at right-back with Dan Alfei injured.

The teenager rewarded his boss with the winner and his first goal in senior football in the 1-0 win.

And there was another surprise as Simon Ferry was handed the captain’s armband and his first starting place since January.

Ferry has been struggling with a back problem but was impressive when anchoring the midfield in a 69-minute outing.

His return to the match-day XI arrived on the same day Awford said it would be a ‘big risk’ using the Scot over the season’s finale.

Awford made no apology, though, for throwing a few curve balls with his statements in the build-up to the game.

He promised he’ll continue to do the same if he believes it will give his side an edge over their rivals.

‘For me, it’s my business,’ said Awford.

‘If I can get an advantage over Hartlepool by springing the odd surprise or two, of course I’m going to do that.

‘We spoke to Aldershot and told Adam he was needed here.

‘We asked Aldershot not to let it out and keep it under wraps.

‘I didn’t want it coming out on social media and people knowing about it. So we thank them for keeping it quiet.

‘And we know we have to be careful with Simon.

‘But he was brilliant and gave a captain’s performance.

‘He took the armband and gave me a display I wanted.

‘Johnny did that last week at Newport and put a right shift in for me.

‘But I thought that Simon might just be the better option for me this time.

‘It was a great display from Simon, I thought, and he gave me the display I wanted.

‘I didn’t bring him off because he was injured – I brought him off because he was tired.

‘We’ll see if he is okay now and then decide what is the best way to go on Saturday.’

It took 82 seconds for Awford’s selection to reap dividends as Webster got his first goal in senior football.

It proved decisive and ensured Pompey got their first back-to-back league wins since March last year.

Awford was pleased for Webster – even if he didn’t know much about the goal.

‘I’m delighted for Webbo,’ said Awford.

‘He got his goal – it hits him and it goes in! But he was in there to score it, which was great.

‘He’s come back in and is part of things.

‘I thought he did a great job for us.

‘It was a solid performance from him.

‘He gives us that little bit of extra height and he knows what goes on here.

‘He knows me, Paul Hardyman and Alan McLoughlin.

‘So he gets it and knows what is required.

‘We’re really pleased.’