Wing-backs gave us lift off – and is here to stay

  • Awford promises to continue with wing-backs
  • System set to remain for rest of the season
  • Blues boss feels there isn’t time this season to switch formation

ANDY AWFORD has vowed to continue with Pompey’s wing-back system.

The Blues boss is convinced going with a 3-5-2 formation is the right thing ahead of the trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Awford has hinted that approach will be the way forward for his side for the remaining nine games of the season.

Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Cheltenham proved a missed opportunity for Pompey at Fratton Park.

Paul Robinson’s absence at the back was definitely a factor in that, as his leadership and presence was missed.

Jack Whatmough has joined Robinson, who has a fractured cheekbone, in the treatment room and is set to miss the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.

We’ll play 3-5-2 – it’s as simple as that

Andy Awford

That raised the question of a change in formation before Pompey yesterday swooped to bring in Nyron Nosworthy and Cole Kpekawa on loan deals.

Awford was adamant a switch was never on the agenda.

He is emphatic in the notion continuing with wing-backs is the right thing to do as Pompey aim to get back to winning ways tomorrow.

‘We’ll play 3-5-2 – it’s as simple as that,’ said Awford.

‘To change it isn’t for me. I’m 99-per-cent sure that’s what we’ll play.

‘Of course you think about it but I’m quite bullish about continuing with it – because it’s worked.

‘We’ve been solid and the performances have been good.

‘Everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.’

The switch to wing-backs has been credited with Pompey’s upturn in results.

The Blues have lost just once in the 11 games since it was employed – kicking off with a 0-0 draw at Wycombe, who topped the table at the time.

There have been moments when Pompey have changed the way they play during games.

That was the case as Awford switched to a flat back four as his team chased the win against Cheltenham on Tuesday night.

Awford explained he will always leave the door open for adjustments during matches.

He doesn’t feels there is time to get across playing a different way to his players with nine games left, however.

The manager reckons the players being used are both suited to playing wing-backs and aware of their various duties when playing the current formation.

He said: ‘We’ve played it since Wycombe at the end of January, so it’s been 11 games.

‘We’re in that mode where everyone knows their role.

‘So to flip it back now would take two or three weeks to get it going.

‘We haven’t got two or three weeks. We know where we’re at.

‘Look, if we had to change we would but, at the moment, we have the personnel to play that way.

‘I don’t want to change it but if I have to I would.

‘We changed it after 60 minutes the other night to chase the game a bit more.

‘We wanted to get more attacking players on the pitch.

‘That was the right thing to do – and that is something we have to gauge during the game.

‘It seems the right way to go.’