Awford: No concerns over Pompey defence

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford is adamant he has no concerns over Pompey’s defence heading into the League Two campaign.

The Blues have now conceded six goals in two matches following Tuesday night’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth.

That scoreline was influenced by individual mistakes and followed a disappointing defensive display at Ebbsfleet the previous match.

Despite the starting line-up against the Cherries featuring two changes to the back four, they still fell 3-0 behind after 36 minutes.

For Awford, though, it was an improvement on their 3-0 Ebbsfleet loss.

And he is not worried over the solidity of his rearguard.

He said: ‘I’m not concerned about the defence.

‘We made mistakes at Ebbsfleet defensively as a unit but Tuesday night was better, we were more compact as a team.

‘It was just silly decision-making from certain individual players which cost us.

‘If we had been the same as we were Saturday and making those same mistakes I would be concerned – but we didn’t, we were a lot better at what we tried to do.

‘We tried to get a bit more of a cover in front of the back four against Bournemouth to give them a bit more of a screen and they did.

‘Nick (Awford) did it really well in the first half, James Dunne did it really well in the second half, so we were pleased with that.

‘But the mistakes against Bournemouth were so silly, so avoidable.

‘You expect Paul (Jones) to stop the first goal, while Alex (Wynter) was beaten by a standing header but you can’t ignore we also didn’t stop the cross.

‘With Danny Hollands, why is he even wanting to go and get the ball there?

‘Why is Paul (Jones) even passing to him?

‘In the final seven games of last season Danny never, ever received the ball there and he won’t ever again, believe you me.

‘I’m not overly concerned as long as they learn.

‘They have got to understand there are right areas to play and right areas not to play.

‘That is not something I need to take on the training pitch, that is just 
talent, that is simple instruction.

‘We have just got to make sure that doesn’t happen again – and it won’t, I can promise you that.’

Ben Chorley missed the defeat with a tight thigh, while Joe Devera dropped to the bench.

Instead Jack Whatmough and Wynter were the central defensive partnership for the decisive opening 45 minutes against Eddie Howe’s side.

Awford added: ‘I have spoken to the players about it.

‘I lost my rag a little bit at half-time, then we had a more diplomatic chat once it had all settled down.

‘They agreed with what I had to say – now we go again.’