Awford sets goalkeeping coach deadline

Andy Awford, centre is close to completing his backroom team. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford, centre is close to completing his backroom team. Picture: Joe Pepler

POMPEY BOSS Andy Awford is confident a new goalkeeping coach will be in place for next week’s training return.

The Blues’ pre-season officially kicks off on Thursday, June 26, with the squad coming back earlier than usual.

Awford has so far added Paul Hardyman to his backroom staff to join current first-team coach Alan McLoughlin.

Yet the goalkeeping coach position remains vacant.

Last term Alan Knight, Phil Smith, Dave Coles and Anthony Williams all served in the role which has attracted plenty of upheaval.

Smith has left the club, while Knight is not being considered as the Blues boss examines his options ahead of the forthcoming campaign.

It is a position Awford is adamant he won’t be rushed into filling.

However, he wants somebody recruited by the time pre-season training commences.

He said: ‘Somebody will be in place for training next week when we report back.

‘I do not rush anything and have been speaking to different people along the way.

‘Then I will make an offer to one, although he might turn it down!

‘I want somebody who fits in, somebody that knows how we work. It’s not just a case of coming in and coaching the keepers.

‘We need the right person who, most importantly, can do the job. I want a good vibe from them.

‘Like players, if they are good enough they are old enough and as long as they can do the job they will do right by me.

‘This is not something to be rushed into. I am not interested in taking that approach at this club.

‘It’s all about the right person who has the right vibe.’

In addition to the vacancy in the first-team set-up, Awford must also recruit for the Academy he has stepped up from.

The youth section has been light following the permanent promotion of both Awford and Hardyman into the senior structure since May.

The roles of Academy manager and Academy coach are up for grabs, with present youth coach Mark Kelly a strong contender among those who have applied.

Martin Hinshelwood, currently chief scout, has also put his name forward.