ANDY AWFORD admitted he’s doing Adam Webster a ‘disservice’ by playing him out of position.
But the Pompey boss promised he will have no hesitation continuing to use him at right-back, as he weighs up his formation for Saturday’s clash with Hartlepool.
Awford switched to a 3-5-2 formation as the Blues knocked Wycombe off top spot in last weekend’s 0-0 draw.
New recruit Josh Passley was given the right wing-back role at Adams Park, as he showcased his willingness to get forward.
That meant there was no place in the squad for Webster after starting the previous five games.
The 20-year-old has been used almost exclusively on the right this season.
But Awford knows that isn’t his best position, and using him there may perhaps be a tad harsh on the lad from West Wittering.
Awford said: ‘Adam has played the majority of his games at right-back.
‘He’s the most natural one.
‘Adam did well at Luton, Newport and Burton. Then he scores against Southend and he’s confident.
‘He’s been alright lately but he’s a young lad and ideally he’s a centre-half.
‘To be fair to him he’d prefer to play centre-half.
‘Maybe I’m doing him a disservice by playing him there. Maybe that’s unfair.’
Awford explained the physical nature of football at League Two level was behind his decision to use Webster on the right. He underlined his conviction he is comfortable enough to do a job there for his team.
Awford said: ‘He can play right-back and I’d have no hesitation about playing him there – he can.
‘The majority of games he’s played there. I believe he plays best there but League Two is physical, and that’s a consideration.
‘Hopefully the experience of playing there will keep him in good stead if we choose to play him in the middle.
‘But if you asked him to play left wing-back he’d do that for you.’
Awford believes Webster’s use as a full-back can be dependent on his team’s philosophy in certain fixtures.
A debate with Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy on a coaching course highlights his thinking on the subject.
The modern football phenomenon of full-backs who attack at every opportunity is eschewed at times by Awford – when necessary.
Awford said: ‘I spoke to Mick McCarthy ages ago. We were talking specifically about right backs.
‘There’s this modern-day interest in full-backs bombing up the wing, the Ashley Cole type.
‘At the time he was in the Premier League with Wolves. So he said he didn’t want that. He wanted an Andy Awford who would sit there and not cross the half-way line – and defend.
‘If you are Patrice Evra at Manchester United you want to attack because you are going to have loads of the ball.
‘If you are Leicester, Burnley or QPR you want a defensive-minded player.
‘It depends what type you want – but I think that’s good advice. At the moment Mick’s probably going the other way at Ipswich. It’ll be interesting to see what he does if he gets up.’