Awford mulls over defensive options

  • Whatmough fighting for fitness ahead of Accrington
  • Webster ready to deputise with Chorley suspended

ANDY AWFORD will have no hesitation bringing Adam Webster in from the cold against Accrington Stanley tomorrow.

The Pompey boss is weighing up his defensive options for the long trip north to the Crown Ground.

Pompey defender Adam Webster Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey defender Adam Webster Picture: Joe Pepler

Awford will be forced into a change at the back, with Ben Chorley serving a one-game ban for his red card at Northampton.

Jack Whatmough is struggling with a shin injury which has kept him out for the past two games.

Johnny Ertl and Adam Webster, who has not appeared since scoring against Southend in January, are the alternatives.

Despite not appearing in the past seven games, Awford believes Webster is ready to play if necessary.

You want your fringe players ready to go – and he is

Andy Awford

Awford said: ‘I would have no hesitation at all throwing him in.

‘With the points total we’ve got I decided Webster needed a breather after the Southend game.

‘We’ve done all right since.

‘But I know he’s there, he’s trained really well and played well in the reserve games that we’ve had.

‘I know he’s there if we need him.

‘He hasn’t been able to get on yet, but the ones who have gone on from the bench have got on and done well.

‘How’s Webbo been? He’s been fine because it’s his fourth season as a pro.

‘Steve (Cotterill) got him in and then it was Michael (Appleton).

‘He’s been around it for a long time, so there are no issues.

‘You want your fringe players ready to go – and he is.’

Awford is prepared to wait on Whatmough’s availability until the last minute for the Accy clash.

The 18-year-old has now made 33 first-team appearances as he establishes himself as a senior player.

That shows the esteem he’s held in by Awford, but the Pompey boss knows he has to be certain he can return at full throttle if the youngster is to feature against Coleman’s side.

Awford added: ‘We’ll check on Jack whether he’s right or not.

‘We have to make a decision whether we play him or someone else or go to a four at the back.

‘There’s a few things to consider and we’ll look at that before the game.

‘I’ve got a couple of options but I have to consider that Jack hasn’t trained for the past nine days or so.

‘You have to take that into consideration. Is he okay?

‘He may be medically fit but is he game fit? We have to consider that.

‘The formation has worked and I don’t want to change it unless I have to.

‘But if we have to we will.’