Blank weekend aids recruitment drive

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

ANDY AWFORD explained Pompey’s blank weekend has helped them accelerate their January recruitment.

And the Blues boss has revealed how the club are embracing the old and new to ensure they bring in the right men this month.

Awford and the Pompey staff have been busily working on getting in the right faces as he carries out an overhaul of his squad.

Not having a match to focus on has helped in that process.

Awford said: ‘It’s helped that we haven’t had a game at the weekend.

‘We have been able to focus on recruitment instead.

‘Normally you are just focused on the game.

‘With not having a game we have been able to train and then work tirelessly with Mark (Catlin) to get things sorted out in the areas we are looking to strengthen.’

Calling on every available contact will be a key factor for Pompey in the coming weeks.

New assistant manager Gary Waddock is set to be a useful resource when it comes to potential targets.

Awford believes the January window will focus on the loan market.

He said: ‘Gary (Waddock) has come in with a good knowledge of the level.

‘But we all have contacts to call on.

‘You are spending a lot of time on the phone. It’s agents, managers and everyone else ringing you daily.

‘It’s literally minute to minute.

‘I had the summer recruitment window. This is more of a loan window.

‘There aren’t many permanents done, especially at our level.

‘The better players are playing, so more permanent stuff tends to get done in the summer.

‘We did a lot of our business then.

‘This is more loan business.

‘You might get the odd one or two you can make permanent.

‘But it tends to be more of a short fix and then you go again in the summer.’

It’s not just the traditional routes of scouting and contacts being utilised by Pompey these days, though.

Technology is being utilised and that is helping to deepen the information at their finger tips over targets.

Awford said: ‘We have a software programme we use.

‘We can access that and download stuff.

‘You can look at clips and look at games.

‘There’s one called Wyscout and one called Scout7. They are databases where you subscribe to them and get stuff off it.

‘You get your password and then you have your own hidden stuff. We can get reports and share them.’

It may be new territory for Awford in his first January transfer window as manager, but he hasn’t been surprised by what is required.

He added: ‘I’m in at 7am and go from there. That’s how it is. Every manager is the same. I finish when I’m done.

‘I will train with the players along with Gary (Waddock) and Paul (Hardyman).

‘The phone will be off for two hours while we train.

‘We’ll come in, have our lunch and then off we go again.

‘You are working around the clock trying to tie everything up.’