Holmes: Awford for Pompey boss

Ricky Holmes. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ricky Holmes has joined the overwhelming backing for Andy Awford to be appointed permanent Pompey boss.

The winger is adamant the 41-year-old is the man for the Blues following the remarkable transformation of the club’s playing fortunes.

With five successive victories under the caretaker boss, Pompey have comfortably secured their League Two status – with Holmes a key performer.

The ex-Barnet man has revealed Awford’s unshakable belief in his players has inspired them to produce their fine end-of-season form.

The Blues board meet today at 3pm to discuss the managerial situation, with Awford the primary option.

And Holmes has no doubts the Pompey Academy coach is the right man for the job.

He said: ‘The turnaround has come from our new gaffer, it’s as simple as that.

‘He comes into the changing room saying: “We’ll win”.

‘He and Hards (Paul Hardyman) have put confidence into us.

‘That’s all we were lacking –belief. That belief comes from a manager and is huge in the changing room.

‘If they don’t believe in you, how do you believe in yourself or believe you can go out there and win a game?

‘The gaffer has given us that belief from the start.

‘I thought he was unlucky not to get the job when he was in charge for those three games earlier in the season.

‘He has come in, we all respect him, he respects us as lads and we know where we stand. He can be hard but also he can be your mate.

‘I like him to bits and hope he gets the job.’

Pompey’s end of year flourish has also seen Holmes emerge as a genuine player of the season contender.

The 26-year-old has made 43 appearances and established himself as the Blues’ chief creative influence, with eight assists in the league.

Having been moved to the bench against Northampton Town – as one of eight changes – he can expect to return to the starting XI at Bury this weekend.

Brimming with confidence, Holmes epitomises the new-found belief in a squad which had previously lost its way under Richie Barker.

And Pompey head into the campaign’s final two matches bubbling with conviction.

He added: ‘I think confidence is one of the main things in football.

‘You have seen it with the top stars.

‘If they are not confident they have a blip in form, then once they get it back they are quality once again.

‘You don’t become a bad player overnight and we are all good players at this club, that is why I believe they signed us.

‘Now we are proving to everyone we should be at the top of the table.

‘The morale was always good within the squad but once we crossed the white line the confidence wasn’t there and thankfully we have got that back.’