Right-back duo depart but Awford happy with choice

Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Devera Picture: Joe Pepler

The right-back five-a-side team has been broken up, but for Andy Awford there remains enough choice.

Alex Wynter and Matt Fish have both departed Fratton Park, with the Blues boss deciding against extending their loans.

The duo had both operated at right-back during their south-coast stays – a position which has proven problematic for Awford.

Yet recent returns from injury for Adam Webster and Joe Devera have increased the options for the job.

Meanwhile, Danny East is inching his way back to fitness with the reserves, having been out since the summer with an ankle problem.

Inevitably, the rise in numbers ensured Wynter and Fish were surplus to requirements, prompting a return to their parent clubs.

A case of when five became three for Awford.

‘We’ve had a right-back five-a-side team,’ said Awford.

‘There have been plenty of options there, with Devera and Webster joining Fish and Wynter, while Danny East will be back soon.

‘In fairness, Webster and Devera can play left-back, too, so you could add those two to Nicky Shorey and Dan Butler. You could also pool those two in the centre-half position.

‘What I would say is we have got lots of good defenders with the lads coming back from injuries. We have a lot of strength in depth as a defensive unit.’

Meanwhile, Awford is remaining cautious over East’s progress.

He added: ‘Danny did his injury in July, he’s been out for nearly six months – that is a heck of a long time to be out, as I know.

‘So it’s not just going to happen, he is not going to be ready for the first team from 45 minutes of a reserve game.

‘We have to be aware of that and manage him properly and not put him out there where he is going to be exposed to a breakdown.

‘From January 6 there are four reserve games on the spin so – weather permitting – that gives us every opportunity to give the likes of Easty and Tom Craddock some game time.’

Pompey’s forthcoming reserve matches take place every Tuesday and are Peterborough (H), Plymouth (A), Cambridge (A) and Bristol City (H).