WES FOGDEN has been backed to energise Pompey’s season finale.
Andy Awford believes the attacker’s return to the first-team fray has handed the Blues a boost ahead of their trip to Morecambe.
It’s great to see him out there and a boost for everybodyAndy Awford
And the boss reckons the former Bournemouth man can continue to lift spirits over the remaining five games of the campaign.
Fogden has celebrated his recovery from an anterior cruciate knee injury by starting the past two games.
Awford feels the 26-year-old’s presence has provided an injection of impetus to his side.
He said: ‘It’s been good for everyone, Foggy in particular.
‘I felt it was the right time to start him and he’s given us what we knew he’d give us.
‘He’s had a heck of an injury so I’m really pleased he’s been able to get fit and get back out there.
‘Our medical department did a great job with him in getting him out there in the timescale they did.
‘It’s great to see him out there and a boost for everybody. But it’s most important for him. It’s really important for his own psyche.
‘He’s out there, able to compete and he’s proved to himself he can do it after a serious injury.
‘On the day it was career-threatening. It’s not now.
‘With the right treatment, medics and science, most people make a full recovery.
‘Wes is an example of that.
‘You could argue he’s had a long, hard season for different reasons, but he’s fresh now.’
Fogden is one of 11 Pompey players out of contract in the summer.
Awford acknowledged the importance of the season’s finale to those with uncertain futures.
But he did indicate it was Fogden’s return which was a key factor in his recent switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Awford said: ‘It’s important for everybody (the season’s final weeks). We have people with different circumstances.
‘Some have contracts, some don’t. Some are in the team, some are out of the team.
‘There are all sorts of different things going on, but we need to get as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.
‘I’ll be picking teams to win football matches.
‘You need the right personnel. I’d go back to 3-5-2 if I felt it was the right thing to do, or go to 4-4-2.
‘You have to suit the personnel of the team.
‘Wes brings what we need in that three behind a number nine.
‘He certainly gives you that attacking energy as one of those three players behind a number nine.
‘He leads by example with his energy and work-rate.
‘In the five or six weeks he’s been available, he’s worked on that. It’s with the ball as well.
‘He can run all day but Seb Coe can run all day!
‘You still have to affect the game with the ball, which is what we worked at.
‘We are trying to help him and add that to his game.’