Awford: Barcham still has role to play

Andy Awford is adamant Andy Barcham still has a role to play in his Pompey team.

The pacy winger has endured an injury-blighted season so far – struggling to establish himself in the side.

Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler

Last week he aggravated a groin problem, keeping him on the sidelines for an additional month.

Barcham has started just two matches during the campaign, while his last appearance was as a substitute against Northampton in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

But Awford insists the former Gillingham wide man can still make an impact for the Blues.

He said: ‘Andy is a good player, we need him fit and I want him part of the squad.

‘I think he has a role to play, I really do.

‘I think he can offer us something.

‘He will not be training for two weeks to allow the injury to get better.

‘He will go into the pool and do some rehabilitating but won’t be able to train.

‘So if he is not training for two weeks, in my mind he has another two weeks once he is fit to get him up to speed before he is ready for the first team – so I’m looking at a month.

‘He was missing with a few bits and bobs before and is gutted.

‘They all speak to me about it because I had enough injuries as a player, I am good therapy for them I think.

‘But he is a chirpy character and is still like that.

‘You have your initial disappointment, of course you do, but he is still good around the place.

‘It’s getting a bit frustrating for him with this time out but that’s football, we are going to have injuries unfortunately.

‘And we’ll get him back and available for selection as soon as we can.’

Barcham’s 2013-14 season was curtailed by a groin problem which kept him out for the final 14 matches.

It meant he didn’t play following the 5-1 defeat at Scunthorpe in February, sidelining him for the relegation run-in as Awford kept the Blues in the Football League.

The 27-year-old finished his maiden Fratton Park campaign with 31 appearances and three goals.

However, he has failed to maintain a sizzling start to his Pompey career on the left-wing under Guy Whittingham’s management.

Barcham featured in all six pre-season friendlies last summer to mark his return from injury but this term has been one of fits and starts.

Although, he did score in the 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge back in September – one of nine appearances in the current campaign.

Awford added: ‘We have had a little spell of injuries with Adam Webster and James Dunne picking up knee problems, while Wes Fogden is a huge loss.

‘We have had our fair share and hopefully it can all change in the second half of the season and the strength of the squad can come through.’