Awford explains striker blank

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

Andy Awford has explained why he drew a blank in his search for a new striker.

The Blues boss was scouring the loan market for a regular goalscorer but was unable to add to his striking resources before the emergency loan window closed on Thursday.

Many expected a forward to be Pompey’s main priority.

Awford, however, insisted it is simply not that easy to find those types of in-demand players.

‘I did look at bringing in a striker and we are always looking,’ said the Pompey boss.

‘But that striker that we are all looking for – the one who has scored 10 goals in his past 15 games – probably isn’t going to be made available for loan by his club.

‘So that means we would be taking a major gamble on someone.

‘The strikers that were available don’t have the goalscoring record that we were looking for.

‘That meant we would have been taking a young lad.

‘We tried that with Michael Drennan and it didn’t quite work.

‘Alternatively, we would be taking a player who has been out of favour at his club and hasn’t really been doing it lately.

‘So we decided to look elsewhere.’

It’s perhaps too easy to suggest everything would be fixed by the recruitment of one striker.

Aside from Jed Wallace,who has scored 10 goals already this term in all competitions, Craig Westcarr (five), Miles Storey (three) and Ryan Taylor (two) have yet to find consistency in front of goal.

Before today’s trip to Tranmere, Pompey had managed a paltry three goals in nine League Two matches on the road this season.

But Awford still feels there are enough goals in his side if the service is right.

He said: ‘Let’s not forget that we have scored goals of late.

‘It’s away from home where we have struggled for goals.

‘To have scored just three goals away from home is nowhere near good enough.

‘We have to do better as a whole team away from home.

‘But it’s not just all down to bringing in a striker. Everybody has to improve.’

Awford chose to allow two of his strikers to go out on loan before Thursday’s deadline.

Patrick Agyemang joined League Two rivals Dagenham & Redbridge, while Brad Tarbuck linked up with Conference Premier side Dartford.

That leaves Pompey with just three strikers. Although, there are other options, with Ricky Holmes, new-boy Lee Holmes or Wallace all capable of playing in more advanced roles.

But Awford felt he needed balance after recruiting wide man Holmes from Preston.

The Blues boss said: ‘With Andy Barcham being unavailable for another month, it encouraged me a bit more.

‘Lee coming in was based on that because I felt we were a little bit light on the wings.

‘I wanted to strengthen it and I’m grateful to Preston that we have been able to bring him in.

‘Miles Storey can play there as we saw against Morecambe but, in my opinion, he is probably better suited up front.’