Awford wants new faces ready for Fratton

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD has told his men they need to be ready for the Fratton factor ahead of the big kick-off.

Pompey make their first home appearance of pre-season tonight as they take on Bournemouth (7.45pm).

It’s part of a Fratton Park double header against Championship opposition, with Charlton visiting on Saturday.

Organising two matches on the bounce ahead of the League Two curtain-raiser against Exeter was a deliberate ploy from Awford.

He feels it’s important his new players get used to the matchday experience and atmosphere they will operate in.

Awford said: ‘I wanted two home friendlies to give them a good experience of Fratton.

‘We’ll try to use all the players over the two games, if we can, to give them that experience.

‘I think it’s important, but they have seen it before, the majority of them playing for the opposition team.

‘The new players won’t have played there before for us – they’ve played against us there, a few of them.

‘But they haven’t yet received that support, so it’s important they get that experience and take it with them into the season.’

Awford is delivering another intensive week for his men after their training camp at Five Lakes in Essex.

He said: ‘It was a fantastic week. It’s been great and it will bear us in good stead for August 9.

‘We’ve got two hard games coming up now at Fratton to get back to base and then we’ll have a total down week ahead of Exeter, to get the players a bit sharper and fitter.

‘This will be a nice occasion for them. I think Bournemouth will bring a few down with them as well.’