Awford eyeing more Pompey exits

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

Andy Awford is eyeing at least another four casualties as he aims to slash his bloated squad down to size.

Matt Fish and Alex Wynter have already departed Fratton Park after the decision was made not to extend their loan spells.

Their exits help reduce a squad previously numbering a hefty 32 players.

Awford is still weighing up the futures of the remaining four players he has on loan – yet is well aware some of those permanently contracted to the club also need shifting.

Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly are obvious candidates, while Ricky Holmes has also fallen out of favour as Pompey’s boss seeks to reach the 26-man mark.

In addition, any new arrivals will need to be off-set by more departures as Awford attempts to strike a balance.

It all indicates a hectic time for the Blues when the January transfer window opens on Thursday.

Awford said: ‘Ideally, you want to work with 24 players – and that includes your young players as well.

‘But if it is 26 so be it, if it is 22 so be it. I have never really had a fixed number if I am honest, I just want as many good players as we can to fit within budget.

‘However, having 32 available for selection is too many for me. When you are that side of 30 you have got to try to address it in January.

‘At the start we were probably five or six bodies too many, and if you want to bring others in then the maths add up.

‘There are lots of players that deserve to be here, of course they do, the majority of them have permanent contracts.

‘But if, for example, I decided to try to move 15 players out, there is no guarantee all 15 would go because they all have contracts. They don’t have to go, it’s not as black and white as that.

‘I’ve got to have difficult conversations with some people. I need to sit down with them and say: “Look, we have too many players you might have to move on” – and that is difficult.

‘I don’t mind doing it, it is part of the job and I have thick skin. I will do it honestly and up front.

‘There is not one bad egg here, I like all the lads, but that is not what it is about. I have got to do what’s best for the football club and what’s best to try to get us results.

‘Trying to manage 32 players on a daily basis has been difficult.’

Such has been the size of the Pompey squad, Awford revealed some have had to sit out of aspects of daily training sessions.

He added: ‘Even if it’s an 11 v 11 in training, you have 10 left over.

‘Obviously, you always have a couple of injuries and a couple of suspensions as the season wears on, but we still have too many.

‘When you do your back-four work or your phase work and stuff there are a lot of players sitting it out.

‘It is a fact there are too many players at the moment.’