New boss wants Awfs by his side

ompey boss Guy Whittingham, left, wants to have Andy Awford by his side again when Pompey kick-off the 2013-14 campaign in League Two
ompey boss Guy Whittingham, left, wants to have Andy Awford by his side again when Pompey kick-off the 2013-14 campaign in League Two

Guy Whittingham spoke of his desire to have Andy Awford as his right-hand man as he decides his future.

Awford is weighing up whether to become Whittingham’s number two on a permanent basis after the former caretaker boss was named as Pompey’s full-time manager.

The man who made 361 appearances for his only league club is deciding whether to take that role or remain in charge of the club’s Academy.

Whittingham does not want to put Awford under any pressure in making the decision which is best for him.

He wants his former Blues team-mate in that position, however, with the pair striking up an understanding during their caretaker tenure with the first team.

Whittingham believes keeping the backroom staff at the club in place is key to moving forward.

That means maintaining roles for the likes Awford, Paul Hardyman, Alan McLoughlin, Alan Knight, Mark Kelly and head of sports performance Steve Allen.

Whittingham said: ‘We’re not putting Awfs under pressure and giving him a timescale.

‘But we have to make sure we’re in a position where we can go forward.

‘If Andy takes the job, there’s the Academy to think of. There’s has to be an Academy manager.

‘There are things to think about if he does or doesn’t go with the first team.

‘Macca’s (Alan McLoughlin) got great experience. For people like him, Paul Hardyman and Mark Kelly the opinions are open. You can never have too many of them.

‘You want people who will give their opinion and will argue about it. We have to have that.

‘Alan Knight will be important and will be here.

‘Steve Allen’s a big part of what we want to do here, too.

‘After a couple of years here this club has really bitten him. We very much count him as one of us.

‘You are only as good as your backroom staff and you have to have a good working relationship with them. I think we have that here.’

Whittingham has underlined the importance of moving quickly when it comes to assembling a squad to start out on the road back to the top for Pompey.

He explained Allen is going to prove a key member of his team in that recruitment drive, as he leans on his knowledge and contacts in the game.

Whittingham said: ‘Our priority is to get a decent sized squad that can compete well in League Two. We’ve got some hard work over the next few weeks to do.

‘Myself and Steve Allen have been working together for a few weeks now.

‘The process has started of recruiting and keeping the players we’ve got.

‘I want to be able to relax in June knowing we’ve got a squad coming back at the end of June that will give us a chance of getting off to good start in League Two.’