Awford: Don’t judge midfielder on goals alone

Danny Hollands Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has told Pompey fans: Don’t judge Danny Hollands just on his goals.

The former Bournemouth and Charlton man found a rich vein of form after arriving on loan at the end of last season, netting five goals in the final seven games.

That run included a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Plymouth on the final day of the campaign.

But after penning a permanent Blues deal in the summer, it’s been a different tale this term, with the 28-year-old yet to score in 13 games ahead of today’s home clash with Mansfield.

Hollands is a key part of Awford’s midfield and the manager is delighted with his form and influence in the dressing room.

But the Pompey boss admits he is hopeful his touch in front of goal will also return.

Awford said: ‘I think his overall play has been great but he just hasn’t had the goals to go with it yet.

‘We all expected – me included – for Danny to come in, play 46 games and score 10 to 15 goals because he had that great run towards the end of last season.

‘If you look at his record down the years, his goalscoring record is okay.

‘But at the end of last season, it was exceptional.

‘His overall contribution has been very good – he has played nearly every game.

‘You can’t have enough leaders in the dressing room and he is definitely one of them.

‘I’ve been delighted with Danny’s overall play. Can he add a couple of goals to it, like everybody else in the team needs to?

‘That would be the icing on the cake.’

While some have questioned why the goals have dried up for the midfielder, Awford believes Hollands’ purple patch in front of goal last term may have set unrealistic expectations.

‘Last season, when he struck one, it hit someone on the backside and it went in,’ said Awford.

‘This season, when he has struck them, they haven’t gone in. That’s the difference between a good Danny Hollands and an exceptional Danny Hollands.

‘Maybe we expected him to be that goalscoring midfielder because of last season. I remember when he signed we were thinking he is a top pro and a very good player but might not score that many goals.

‘We were probably a bit surprised at how many he scored. I think he was as well.

‘He had a couple of chances at York. It will come for him.’

Awford also believes the switch in formation this season has also seen Hollands’ role change within the team.

‘The system has changed so that has taken a bit of time for him to adapt to that,’ added Awford

‘Sometimes we have Jed Wallace high on that right side so Danny has to cover the left and maybe that takes him out of the box a little bit as well.’