Awford: It’s not just about Jed

The News Sports Awards Pompey player of the year for 2014, Jed Wallace Picture: Allan Hutchings
The News Sports Awards Pompey player of the year for 2014, Jed Wallace Picture: Allan Hutchings

ANDY AWFORD warned Pompey they can’t become over-reliant on Jed Wallace.

And the Blues boss admitted the onus is on him to find the answers to his prized asset becoming a marked man.

Wallace was crowned Pompey player of the year for 2014 - sponsored by JSPC Computer Services Ltd – at The News Sports Awards on Thursday night.

He picked up the title for the second successive year after an impressive breakthrough at Fratton Park.

That progress has led to the Blues’ top scorer catching the eye as a key dangerman for his side.

Wallace’s threat was snuffed out, however, in the 0-0 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night.

Awford knows teams will pinpoint the 21-year-old more frequently and he has to look at addressing the problem.

‘It didn’t happen for Jed at Dagenham. Andre Boucard did a job on him,’ said Awford.

‘But that is one game in about eight where he hasn’t hit the heights we have wanted him to.

‘If someone has scored 12 goals and has the energy levels that he has got, other teams will look at that.

‘That’s down to him, me, the coaching staff and the team to find a way to handle that.

‘If Jed is not going to be the one all the time, we’ve got to look elsewhere or Jed has got to do something different.

‘If you are an opposition manager, you wouldn’t give him too much room to run into because that is his strength.

‘We all know that, I don’t think that is any secret.

‘It’s not just down to him. He’s got to look for space elsewhere and we have to do that as a team.

‘It’s not a case of building a team around Jed Wallace. The whole team has to function.

‘If he runs into different areas, other players need to be aware of that.

‘When Jed is not effective, which he wasn’t at Dagenham for the first time in a long time, we as a team need to find a way to get better out of him or find another way of doing something.’

Wallace admitted 2014 has been a tough period for the Blues but he took pride at following in the footsteps of the likes of David James and Paul Merson and scooping The News’ Pompey player of the year crown.

‘It was a massive honour to win it. I’m really pleased and I hope I’ve made my family proud,’ said Wallace.

‘I’m delighted to win it for a second year. I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of games.

‘To follow in the footsteps of some great players is special. They are slightly better players than I am!

‘We are where we are at the moment but I’ve been happy to contribute and score a few goals. I just want to thank the fans who voted for me.

‘To sign my first proper contract and play 100 games are things I’m proud of.

‘There haven’t been as many ups on the pitch as I would’ve liked. But we are working hard to make sure we have more success on the pitch than we have.’