Awford: Pompey players are doing everything asked of them

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

ANDY AWFORD assessed Pompey’s 6-1 win at Bognor and enthused: The players are doing everything asked of them.

The Blues boss cast an approving eye as his League Two side impressed against their Ryman League premier neighbours at Nyewood Lane on Saturday.

First-half goals from Ryan Taylor, Miles Storey and Danny Hollands gave Awford’s men a 3-1 lead at the break, though Rocks frontman Alex Parsons briefly gave the hosts hope when he made the scoreline 2-1.

But the Blues quickly resumed control after the interval, with Bradley Tarbuck, Andy Barcham and Jed Wallace all netting in a scoreline that did not flatter the dominant visitors.

Awford said: ‘In terms of what we’ve asked the players to do and in terms of the structure and the pattern of play, they are buying into that.

‘There are still areas to work on and it (the scoreline) could have been a few more.

‘But everything that we’ve asked them to do they are trying their very best to do at the moment.’

Awford’s side have now scored 10 goals in their two opening pre-season friendlies, following a 4-0 win at the Hawks.

A preferred 4-2-3-1 formation has allowed an element of fluidity and freedom for his selected attacking quartet and the Blues boss believes his side are showing promise in the final third.

Awford said: ‘I think it (an attacking threat) is there.

‘Obviously fitness levels play their part in that because we are playing against part-time opposition and our levels are a little bit higher.

‘But we are taking enough chances.

‘We are also creating a lot of chances, which is good, But obviously the stiffer opposition comes in the next few weeks, that will be the test and then we will get ready for Exeter (League Two opener, August 9).’

The Blues were without injured trio Michael Poke, Danny East and Jack Whatmough for the weekend’s short trip to West Sussex.

Awford explained the players’ absences were precautionary and that all three were expected to board the coach for Colchester this morning as the Blues return to Five Lakes for a six-day pre-season training camp.

Goalkeeper Poke’s late withdrawal from the Bognor match-day squad allowed a first Blues appearance for Academy keeper Alex Bass.

Awford was pleased with the teenager’s second-half cameo.

He said: ‘Michael Poke just rolled his ankle in training ever so slightly. It was nothing major but it would have been silly to have played him and risked injury.

‘It was nice for Alex to get a little run around.

‘I spoke to Mark Kelly (Academy manager) and asked if we could have him up for the day.

‘It was nice for the lad to get a little bit of a run-out and he did well.

‘Danny East has a slight groin strain, nothing too serious we hope but again there was no point in risking him.

‘Jack Whatmough picked up a dead leg in training.

‘He could have played – it was probably 60-40 in his favour – but again it was silly to risk him.

‘They were the three who missed out but hopefully they will be okay for tomorrow against Thurrock (7.45pm) or Saturday at Ebbsfleet (3pm).’