Awford: Budget won’t hinder us

Pompey Academy boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey Academy boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford is satisfied he’s been given a budget that can help him produce more quality youngsters for Pompey as he insisted: We can work with it.

The Academy boss has seen his finances trimmed after the Blues’ relegation to League Two but understands rebuilding the club is the priority for new owners, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

While there were some suggestions the Academy would be scaled back dramatically under the Trust, Awford insists that will not be the case.

And he’s confident he can keep the production line ticking along and add to the clutch of young prospects who came through the ranks into the first team last season.

Awford said: ‘I’ve been given my budget verbally.

‘It’s fine and we can certainly work to that.

‘It’s been cut a little bit from last season but we’ve been relegated and the club is rebuilding. I understand that.

‘I’m not disappointed. It’s what I expected.

‘We are where we are but I’m comfortable with it and we’ve got enough good kids coming through the system.

‘We’ve got good coaches at the club, we’ve got some good, young players, and with a bit of TLC and some patience they will be fine.

‘If we can continue to produce one or two every season for the first team, then it’s job done.’

The former Blues skipper stepped up to become assistant boss to Guy Whittingham last term but was keen to return to his role in charge of the youth set-up once the campaign had finished.

And while he understandably wants to expand and improve the Academy – making that clear to Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin – Awford realises that will take time.

‘When I’ve been to the club and told them “I need to do this or that”, they have said “as long as it’s within budget, get on and do it”,’ said Awford.

‘I go straight to Mark Catlin and he lets me get on with it.

‘As long as I don’t spend over the mark by the end of the season, everyone is happy.

‘They’ll be even more happy if we produce another couple of players.

‘I would like to see us invest some more into the Academy in the future but I also understand that we are rebuilding the whole club and it will take a little bit of time to do that.

‘We have to be patient.’

Youngsters Dan Butler, Jed Wallace, Jack Maloney and Nick Awford joined Ashley Harris and Adam Webster in the first-team ranks last term, while Bradley Tarbuck and Jack Whatmough have been tipped as possible future graduates.

Awford said: ‘A few of the lads got a little taster and hopefully they will go on and get some more.

‘They aren’t going to play 46 games, but they can supplement the first-team squad to let Guy use money in other areas of the squad.

‘They know they’ve got a chance if they work hard.’