Pompey boss won’t break his budget

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

Andy Awford has vowed to stay within this season’s agreed playing budget.

The Blues boss is satisfied with the resources at his disposal as he builds his squad for the forthcoming League Two campaign – and has already recruited six new players to the ranks.

Danny Hollands, Craig Westcarr, Nigel Atangana, Paul Jones, James Dunne and Michael Poke have all signed up since the end of last term.

But there have also been plenty of departures, with 11 first-team squad players – Phil Smith, John Sullivan, Yassin Moutaouakil, Sonny Bradley, Bondz N’Gala, Marcos Painter, Romain Padovani, Thery Racon, Ashley Harris, Simon Ferry and Jake Jervis – all leaving the club.

While Awford is understandably coy on the figures he is working with, he is insistent he will not be asking for an increase.

Awford said: ‘I’ve always said that if the right player becomes available, we will do something – as long as it is within budget.

‘We will not – I repeat, not – stretch the budget.

‘I won’t do it. I wouldn’t be allowed to do it and rightly so.

‘I know what the budget is and I’ve got to stick to that.

‘If the right quality of player becomes available that we can fit into the budget, then I will try to sign him.

‘I’m not bothered about the quantity of players we have – it’s more about quality.

‘So if we can add to the squad, great.

‘If we don’t, we will crack on with what we’ve got.’

The loan pursuit of Swindon’s Miles Storey is still ongoing and Awford remains optimistic it will be resolved.

He said: ‘Some transfers are quite simple and happen quite quickly, like Michael Poke.

‘It was a case of ringing him up, getting him down to do his medical and it was signed. It was a swift transaction.

‘This one is taking a little bit longer.

‘The lads who are in contract are always more difficult.

‘We haven’t reached an agreement with Swindon yet.

‘Hopefully, that will change and we will come to an agreement soon.

‘He wants to come, I want him to come, but there are some little bits and bobs to sort out with Swindon.’

Awford also confirmed there had been no enquiries for any of his 27-man squad since they returned for pre-season training.

But he has not ruled out creating some extra space for further recruits, even once the season has started.

He said: ‘Nobody has been in contact about my players but we’ll have to wait and see.

‘It might mean one would have to go before I could bring someone in.

‘I don’t have a problem with that.

‘We’ve done a lot of business already and it’s now about getting them ready for August 9.

‘I can only pick 18 players every week.

‘But we have a heavy schedule in August so we will need a squad.’