McInnes: Blues ‘Clan’ in safe hands

Pompey caretaker boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey caretaker boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

Iain McInnes is adamant Pompey ‘leader’ Andy Awford possesses the qualities to maintain the march to Football League safety.

The caretaker boss has already won his first match in charge, having been given the task of steering the Blues away from relegation danger.

Newport represented a giant stride, yet there are still six fixtures remaining, with Hartlepool visiting Fratton Park on Saturday.

For Pompey chairman McInnes, Awford possesses the ability to inspire and motivate a squad short of confidence and goals.

And following the mutually-agreed exit of Richie Barker, he is convinced the Blues ex-skipper is the man to usher the club through the current crisis.

McInnes said: ‘When you are in a war I don’t think you can afford for some of your troops to be running in another direction.

‘If you read your history books, you’ll find those officers brave enough to be anywhere near the front line often got shot in the back of the head by their own troops.

‘I’ve got the feeling we may have been in the situation where some of our troops would be shooting people in the back of the head!

‘That’s not the case with Andy. He is a galvaniser of people, he knows the club inside out, he’s got a very direct, straight-forward and likeable manner with him.

‘He’s got the reddish hair and a bit of the clannish leader about him and I think that’s what he is – a clan leader.

‘Along with me, he will be the first to say the Newport victory is one win – let’s see if we win Saturday.

‘I believe having done what we have done (with regards Barker), we have a better chance because the fans genuinely feel galvanised. That is why we did it – and it would be nice to be proven right.’

Awford was one of seven contenders interviewed for the Pompey job following the dismissal of Guy Whittingham in December.

The Academy boss was unsuccessful, with Barker instead getting the nod.

But McInnes admits Awford put forward an impressive argument which ensured he was approached to take on the caretaker role once again.

He added: ‘We interviewed Andy, as everybody else, with an open mind and he acquitted himself very well.

‘I am not saying where he came in the pecking order but he certainly came higher than some of other people’s favourites.

‘At the end of the day he will do a great job for us until the end of the season. I think we are in safe hands and I think, with hindsight, if we appointed him we might have been in safe hands.

‘He’s now got the job until the end of the season so we will appraise it then, as Andy and the board both agreed.

‘We have agreed completely, and I want to make this perfectly clear, there are no other conversations going on with any other managers of any nature at all.’