Awfs gets tough as nine depart

Jake Jervis is one of nine first-team squad players to leave the club Picture: Joe Pepler
Jake Jervis is one of nine first-team squad players to leave the club Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD showed his ruthless streak for the first time as Pompey boss and promised: I’ll do what is best for the club.

Jake Jervis and Thery Racon head up a list of first-team squad players who have been shown the door by the Blues.

That’s as Awford promised to build a new squad for his first assault on League Two next season.

The likes of Yassin Moutaouakil, Marcos Painter, Phil Smith and Ashley Harris also depart, as Pompey released their retained players’ list.

Options have been taken up to keep Ryan Bird and Adam Webster, with talks continuing on a quintet who are out of contract, including Jed Wallace and Nicky Shorey.

Loan deals are up for Michael Drennan and Dan Alfei. The same applies to Danny Hollands and Trevor Carson, but Awford is keen to keep both.

All other senior staff members remain under contract, after the Blues manager held meetings with his players this week.

Awford admitted it wasn’t easy coming to the decision of who was staying and going.

But he has no intention of shirking tough calls which need to be made for the benefit of the club.

‘We have to thank the players that we’ve released for their service to the club,’ said Awford.

‘I just feel that we won’t be requiring them next season and moving forward.

‘We’ve had a chat and decided it’s the right thing for the club that they are moved on.

‘We have to look to build a new squad.

‘It’s not nice. It’s a horrible part of the job that you have to do.

‘But it’s for the good of the football club.

‘There is a budget to work to.

‘We highlight the players we definitely want to keep, highlight targets and those who we don’t think will play next season.

‘We all have an input in that.

‘It’s me, the footballing staff, chief executive and finance director, who controls the budget.

‘We are in the mix with it and it’s a club decision.

‘We’ve had a chat as a club and staff and agreed on what we think.’

Although acknowledging it is a tough part of the job releasing players, Awford admitted it proved an easier process releasing senior staff compared to telling Academy talents they are on their way.

He said: ‘I’ve been releasing Academy players for the last four years. I’ve done that again this year.

‘It’s a lot more difficult doing that and releasing under-18 players.

‘When you’re releasing adults it’s a little bit easier than releasing kids.’