Awford’s way is fine for winger

Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler
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ANDY BARCHAM believes he can thrive in Pompey’s attack-minded set-up.

The Blues winger is gunning to return to fitness and play a part in his club’s battle to make an impact in League Two next season.

And he has been reassured by Andy Awford he has a big role to play in his first full season as Pompey boss.

Awford opted to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation to drive his team away from relegation last season.

Wes Fogden, Jed Wallace and Ricky Holmes all thrived in the system behind striker Ryan Taylor.

Barcham looked on as he was sidelined with a thigh injury through the club’s finale.

But he has been told by Awford he is part of his plans moving forward.

And he feels he can work well in the way he has the team set up.

Barcham said: ‘I like the formation we’re playing

‘You are seeing that more and more in modern football.

‘I like it because you can be defensive when you need to be.

‘But, going forward, it gives you the attacking options with so many people ahead of the ball.

‘I’ve spoke to the gaffer about it and he’s spoken to me about how he wants to play and the team to play.

‘He has taken time to reassure me that I am part of the fold.

‘Me being an attack-minded player it fits in very well with how I want to play.

‘You can be solid but also an attacking team, which everyone wants us to be.

‘I think you were seeing that in the performances.

‘We were hard to beat but when we needed the goals we went and got them.

‘Some people look at one up front and question whether the striker will get enough support.

‘But when you have three boys behind them who want to get forward and make the runs in behind and stay wide it really is an attacking formation.

‘Everyone could see that from the amount of goals we got at the end of the season.’

Barcham lauded Awford for being shrewd enough to implement a formation which was key to Pompey’s end-of-season renaissance.

Five wins and two draws were returned after he entered the fray and switched things up.

Barcham noted his manager went with an approach which suited the players at his disposal.

The 27-year-old feels having three players behind a front man with two sitting midfielders affords the team a decent level of flexibility.

Barcham said: ‘Different formations work for different squads.

‘Every manager has their favoured formation but you have to work with the players you have as well.

‘Formations change so much in the modern game too.

‘You can set out as a 4-4-2 but when you haven’t got the ball it can be a 4-5-1.

‘There’s so much room for change in formations.

‘I think that’s the way with the 4-2-3-1 formation.

‘It allows you to do that.’