Fratton faithful to see Awford’s Pompey

Pompey defender Dan Buitler Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Dan Buitler Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Awford to get opportunity to revamp his squad
  • Butler and Webster contract talks ongoing

the Fratton faithful will this summer finally see Andy Awford’s Pompey, according to Mark Catlin.

With 14 players out of contract at the season’s end, the opportunity is there for the Blues boss to rip up his existing squad.

Andy has obviously inherited players this year and has kept some and is probably going to keep others, that will be his choice at that point

Mark Catlin

At present, two of those – Dan Butler and Adam Webster – have been offered fresh deals, while the remainder are battling for their Fratton Park careers.

It’s a tantalising scenario for the Pompey manager as he seeks to mould a side capable of climbing out of League Two.

And once it arrives, Catlin is confident supporters will see a team constructed by Awford rather than his predecessors.

He said: ‘There are quite a few contracts up and as soon as the budget for next year is sorted the ball will be back into the manager’s court to decide those players he wants to keep and those he doesn’t.

‘With the amount of contracts up, Andy has a lot more flexibility moving into next season.

‘Bar two players – Andy Barcham and Johnny Ertl – all the other players will be Andy’s picks.

‘Andy and Johnny are on three-year deals so they will be the only two left over from when he took over.

‘Andy has obviously inherited players this year and has kept some and is probably going to keep others, that will be his choice at that point.

‘Whereas, moving forward, it will only be two who won’t be his picks.’

The Blues initially opened talks with Butler and Webster before Christmas, yet the defensive pair have both to reach agreement on new deals.

Awford has prioritised securing the home-grown pair ahead of the rest on the basis of their age and potential.

The wait for the remaining 12 to learn in what direction their footballing future lies continues.

Danny East, who is among them, yesterday agreed to remain on loan at Aldershot for a third month as he benefits from first-team football.

But Catlin hopes Butler and Webster can soon be tied up to fresh deals.

He added: ‘As they are young it’s a slightly different scenario for those two on the contract issue.

‘They are probably slightly more advanced in that Andy has actually spoken to them about extending.

‘We have discussed it with them but there will be no final decisions or contracts signed until we have agreed a budget in the next few weeks.’