Duo backed for permanent Pompey roles

Successful team: Andy Awford, left, and Guy Whittingham    Picture: Joe Pepler
Successful team: Andy Awford, left, and Guy Whittingham Picture: Joe Pepler

He has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Guy Whittingham for the past four months and 20 days.

Now Steve Allen is convinced the caretaker boss has proven he should be given the Pompey job on a permanent basis.

The Blues physio has witnessed at close hand Whittingham’s transformation from development group coach to manager-elect since November.

It has been a testing period featuring a club-record run of 23 games without a win, a record-equalling nine consecutive defeats and 35 players used.

Nonetheless, Whittingham and assistant Andy Awford have emerged blinking into the daylight of late with increasing credit.

A return of two defeats in the past nine matches reflects a hard-working team assembled by the ex-Pompey players, revelling in new-found stability.

Former Wimbledon and West Ham physio Allen has been at Pompey since August 2010 and is part of the depleted Fratton Park backroom staff these days.

And, from what he has observed, Whittingham, along with Awford, should be crowned the new management team once the ownership situation is finalised.

He said: ‘Guy has been fantastic. He has grown into the role massively.

‘I have been in professional football now for 28 years and, for me, a manager always has to have a massive amount of presence. Whenever you walk into the room, the players and members of staff should feel a presence and I feel that with Guy.

‘He has really grown into the role, the players here would like him to get the job. Categorically, 100 per cent, he should have the job because he has proven his worth.

‘Not only does he love the club but, more importantly, makes the right decisions about team selection, tactics and bringing players in. His decisions are good decisions.

‘Guy was assistant manager/first-team coach under Steve (Cotterill), and then under Michael (Appleton) he was development coach as well.

‘It can be hard when you are in that position of not being the authoritative one and commanding the dressing room.

‘You are the second or third in command and don’t know whether to speak sometimes or not to.

‘At the start of the job he was finding his way a little bit.

‘I have listened to his team talks at half-time and at the end of games and he has massively, massively grown.

‘I’ve been around a dressing room long enough to know somebody is talking good football sense or not and Guy behaves, says and does the right things as manager.

‘He thoroughly deserves the chance and I hope he gets it.’

The role of Awford has also been pinpointed by Allen as crucial in the current turnaround.

And for him, maintaining the double act is the way forward.

Allen added: ‘They understand the needs of the club going forward, whereas I think if the new owners of the club bring in someone from the outside, that would have to be restarted and redeveloped again.

‘Guy and Andy have a head start, they are already ahead of the game for the future.

‘They understand the club, which is important. They understand the role now and are in a good place.

‘In my opinion, they are worthy of the opportunity.’