Awford lifts lid on wholesale Pompey changes

Andy Awford. Pic: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Pic: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has admitted he had little choice but to implement widespread changes against Northampton.

Only three of the side which defeated Bristol Rovers on Saturday retained their places for the trip to Sixfields.

While Trevor Carson, Nicky Shorey and Jed Wallace started, there were eight other changes.

One of which, Danny East, netted the winner in the 1-0 success, marking his first appearance in 2014.

Awford could have been in for some criticism had his alterations backfired, yet as it was, it was victory number five during his caretaker reign.

He said: ‘I felt I needed to freshen it up a little bit, there were a couple who couldn’t play through bumps and niggles and would have been a big injury risk.

‘If I am honest, I didn’t really want to make eight changes but that was needed and the lads that came in did great.

‘Ryan Taylor and Jack Whatmough weren’t in that 18 but were as happy as everyone else down in that dressing room and we’ve got a great spirit as well as a great togetherness.

‘It was about assessing which ones were fitter than the others.

‘Danny Hollands was limping about at Dagenham with a dead leg and that is still there and Ricky Holmes has had a little niggle, there are lots of them with bits and bobs.

‘Jack (Whatmough) has had too much football. His was a mental thing for me. I had to give him a break and take him out of the firing line and make sure that he’s right because of his age.

‘I felt getting two games in three days out of Bondz was a big ask and it was right to bring the other two lads (Devera and Bradley) in.

‘Ben Chorley’s wife had a baby Sunday and he had about one hour’s sleep and was in no physical shape or mental state to play.

‘It was a little bit forced upon and a little bit of choice, although considering our depth in the squad if you have the opportunity to change it when playing again in 48 hours then why not change it?’