Pompey boss in Robbo warning

Paul Robinson. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Robinson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has signalled his intent to keep Paul Robinson at Fratton Park.

But Pompey’s boss has warned of the complexities involved in extending the central defender’s stay beyond his January loan expiry date.

The 32-year-old has been one of the Blues’ key performers since linking up from Millwall on the eve of the campaign.

He has featured in 16 of Pompey’s 19 matches so far, establishing himself as an automatic choice in the centre of defence.

Apparently surplus to requirements at the Lions, his contract is up at the end of this season.

It’s a situation to hearten any Blues supporter who is hopeful of retaining Robinson on the south coast for the long term.

But Awford has concerns as to whether Pompey can keep him.

He said: ‘Robbo has had a good influence on us.

‘I think he has been one of our stand-out players.

‘He is very good in the dressing room.

‘I like him as a person – which is important as well – and he’s a good leader.

‘But I need to speak to Millwall about him staying longer.

‘We will try to keep him if the finances are right but, obviously, Millwall have to agree to that first as he is their player – and he has got to want to stay also.

‘Robbo is out of contract in the summer. It is not quite as simple as just signing a piece of paper and seeing what happens, he has a lot of thinking to do.

‘It is not just a case of “yes, okay I’ll stay gaffer”.

‘He will want to know if I have got plans for him.

‘He is out of contract at the season’s end and there is a lot to consider.

‘At the end of the day, if Millwall say no it doesn’t matter what me and him want to do, they hold all the cards, so we will see.’

Robinson has been prepared to drop down two divisions in search of regular first-team football.

It is an admirable attitude from a player who has racked up 362 appearances and 23 goals for Millwall.

But Awford believes not many others would be willing to follow Robinson’s lead in moving down the leagues.

‘Players have to want to come,’ said the Blues boss.

‘It is not as easy as people think. It is harder than people believing “give him a call, he will come and play at Pompey”.

‘Players who come on loan are thinking long-term, they don’t want to be playing in League Two, they want to be playing in the Championship or the Premier League.

‘For instance, take a player at Brighton, why would he drop two levels to play football?

‘It’s not like my day, it’s different, there is a different mentality of players.

‘Some do, such as Robbo, they don’t mind it. But in my experience the majority don’t want to.

‘The agents are in their earhole going “you’re better than that”, so it is not as easy as people think.’