Illness ruled out Blues defender

Ben Chorley
Ben Chorley

Andy Awford revealed he would have named an unchanged Pompey side for the win over Carlisle had Ben Chorley not been struck down by illness.

The Blues skipper was the surprise omission from the starting line-up as Joe Devera switched back to centre-back and Alex Wynter was recalled at right-back.

But Awford explained that the former Stevenage man had been hit by a stomach bug.

Awford said: ‘Chorley was ill.

‘He had sickness and diarrhoea on Friday night.

‘I got a phonecall early on Saturday morning to say he wasn’t available for selection.

‘Fair play to Ben. It would have been easy to pitch up and try to play and keep it quiet.

‘But Ben is a model pro and has done the right thing in my opinion. He stuck his arm up and said “I am not right” and fair play for him for doing that because he is desperate for us to do well, we all are.

‘Alex Wynter stepped in and did a fantastic job. He had a really solid game.

‘But Ben would have played. It was going to be the same team at Shrewsbury because I thought we were excellent last week and didn’t get quite what we deserved.’

In stark contrast to earlier in the season, there is now real continuity about the selection.

Awford said: ‘It has been pretty much the same for the last three games and I think every player has played well.

‘We just haven’t had the final third play, as we know, but we did against Carlisle.’

Although he was without his captain, Awford’s stand-in skipper, Danny Hollands, thankfully avoided serious injury after a horror tackle from Hayden White in the closing minutes.

The Blues boss said: ‘I don’t think they can have any complaints about the red card.

‘I think it was down to frustration but he had to go.

‘I’m just grateful that Danny was okay.’

The Blues boss also explained his decision to leave out Patrick Agyemang and Andy Barcham, who were not in the squad.

Awford said: ‘It’s difficult to leave them out.

‘I’ve got an array of talent in the squad and I only do what I think is best for the club.

‘It’s never anything personal with anybody.

‘I get on very well with Andy and Pat – they are two great lads.

‘But I just felt we needed something different from the bench for this game.’