Awford hints at Pompey backroom changes

Paul Hardyman Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Hardyman Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford is keen to have his revamped backroom team in place as quickly as possible.

The Blues boss has been assisted by Paul Hardyman and AlanMcLoughlin during his caretaker spell and is clearly considering his options.

While Awford hinted he may look to bring in an older head to join the set-up, he already has his own ideas on the make-up of his staff but did not suggest he wanted to keep things as they are.

‘I’ve spoken to the board about that and it will happen over the next few weeks,’ said Awford.

‘They know what I want and hopefully we can get to that point.

‘I can’t say too much because it hasn’t been agreed yet, but that will be sorted out over the next two or three weeks.

‘Let’s get the Plymouth game out of the way and then I can look to build the backroom staff I would like.’

A key factor is the appointment of the club’s new Academy manager – the role Awford has vacated. And with his Academy deputy Hardyman currently involved with the first team, his role has not yet been finalised.

Some believe Hardyman will step up to run the Academy, but Awford will be heavily involved in the decision on who succeeds him.

While Guy Whittingham was criticised for failing to bring in an experienced assistant during his spell in charge, Awford understands his inexperience will come under scrutiny.

He said: ‘I am an inexperienced manager. That’s spot on – but there is nothing I can do about it.

‘Everyone has their first job but I can’t get away from the fact that I am an inexperienced manager.

‘It’s a challenge for me to make sure that my inexperience doesn’t affect what goes on at the club.

‘I’ve got a list as long as my arm of people who I can phone for advice if I need to do that.

‘But I have had 14 years of coaching experience working with some top managers and coaches.

‘I have done every course going to enhance my understanding of coaching and management.

‘And I will continue to do that as I want to improve. I don’t have a magic wand.’

While his backroom staff is assembled, Awford will also start contract negotiations with the players early next week.

He said: ‘Nobody has been told yet. It was decided that we would get the final game out of the way and the players have agreed.

‘It’s the professional thing to do and I will meet them next week.’