Pompey: Shorey lauds perfect fit Awford

Pompey defender Nicky Shorey Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Nicky Shorey Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey have found the perfect dovetail fit in their managerial make-up.

Now Nicky Shorey is confident Andy Awford can inspire a more memorable League Two campaign for the Fratton faithful.

The Blues boss is in the process of reshaping the club, both on and off the field of play, following his permanent appointment at the start of May.

New faces are anticipated in the coming weeks, joining the likes of Shorey and Danny Hollands in committing to Pompey.

The 33-year-old may have been recruited by former manager Richie Barker, but Awford proved to be the far more effective figure in charge, culminating in the Blues retaining their Football League status last season after a period of uncertainty.

And Shorey feels with the right man at the helm there are brighter times ahead for all.

‘Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, it works for one person and not for another. You cannot put your finger on just why,’ said Shorey.

‘You had to offer him (Awford) the job after that run of results – there could not be any other consideration.

‘The gaffer knows the club from top to bottom and has been there a long time. I think that’s important at a club like Portsmouth, you need to understand the whole history and the fans and he gets it more than anyone.

‘That was a big factor in that run-in, when he was going in and trying to emphasise how much he loves the club and really getting that across to the players.

‘We started realising it a lot more and that helped to buck our ideas up – you could see the change in results, too.

‘There was no magic formula. The gaffer had his way of playing the game and the work ethic he demanded, which the lads responded to.

‘He deserves plenty of credit for that and I’m really looking forward to next season.’

Following defeat at Rochdale – Barker’s last game in charge – Pompey were left just two points above the relegation zone with seven matches to play.

Their position was even more perilous than that at the final whistle, with Northampton beating AFC Wimbledon.

And had it not been for Sammy Moore’s last-gasp equaliser in that fixture, the Blues would only have been out of the drop zone purely on goals scored.

Then arrived Awford, and with four successive victories, the Blues achieved safety before winning at Northampton.

Shorey added: ‘It was a tricky period and desperate at that stage as well – we needed results sooner rather than later.

‘The gaffer came in and rejuvenated us and gave the lads confidence through hard work put in on the training ground.

‘The bottom line was we knew we needed the improve. Whenever we got results someone else did, you don’t want to think what would have happened if we hadn’t gone on that run.

‘Sometimes you go on these runs and confidence is flowing through you and it seems like an easy game. It’s not of course!’