Tough start to get tougher for Pompey

Andy Awford during training. Picture: Sarah Standing (141940-3101)
Andy Awford during training. Picture: Sarah Standing (141940-3101)

IT’S BEEN a high-intensity start to pre-season.

But Andy Awford warned his men training is going to go up another notch next week.

Today represents Pompey’s sixth day of pre-season after they returned to work last Thursday.

That proved a hard-working opening at University of Portsmouth’s Langstone Campus.

And yesterday was another gruelling day as the squad were put through a double gym session.

Next week is the countdown to the first pre-season fixture against Hawks on July 12.

That, Awford warned, will mark the end of a testing few days for his men.

Awford said: ‘They’ve done Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the weekend off.

‘They were in the gym for a double session yesterday.

‘There’s been no dramas whatsoever and they’ve done their work.

‘There’s no issues. For once there is no great, big story.

‘It’s everyone just going about their work.

‘It’s what should happen at a normal football club.

‘It’s great. We’re getting on with it and will really step it up next week.

‘There is the Havant game coming up and then Bognor.

‘We’ve got a good six weeks leading into the Exeter game.’

With Tom Craddock in the treatment room, Awford has had a squad of 26 players to work on so far in pre-season.

Craddock is still recovering with his knee injury and goalkeeping coach Scott Bevan has been overseeing the progress of Paul Jones and Michael Poke.

That has left Awford with three groups of eight to work with in sessions.

Despite still keeping an eye on recruitments, including Swindon’s Miles Storey, Awford underlined he is comfortable with the options as his disposal.

Awford said: ‘I’ve trained with 26 pros for the last five days.

‘They are working well and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far.

‘We’ve got 26 and Tom Craddock makes 27.

‘We had three eights working in all the sessions so far.

‘Then there is the two keepers and Tom, who is not involved at the minute, unfortunately. He is doing his rehab.

‘If the season starts tomorrow, I’m happy.

‘I’m repeating myself really. If it started now we’d crack on.

‘If we can get the right quality I will. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t.’