New Pompey coach has boots at the ready

Ashley Westwood will play a part in Pompey's pre-season matches
Ashley Westwood will play a part in Pompey's pre-season matches

Ashley Westwood has declared himself ready to feature in Pompey’s friendly programme.

The 35-year-old has been recruited as Michael Appleton’s first-team coach.

However, Westwood is on stand-by on the Blues’ pre-season tour to act as cover for rookie defenders Sam Magri and Adam Webster during the two fixtures against Gibraltar and Brighton.

The teenage pairing are likely to start in the centre of defence against Gibraltar tonight.

Westwood, though, is expected to be on the bench and will be ready to enter as a substitute during the second half to ease their workload.

The former Manchester United centre-half, who made more than 500 appearances in his career, had signed as a player/assistant manager at Lincoln this summer before Appleton intervened and brought him to Fratton Park.

And while Westwood has joined the Blues in a coaching capacity, he’s not averse to helping out on the playing side during pre-season.

He said: ‘I will establish myself here as a first-team coach, although I think I will get changed and be on the sidelines for games whilst over here as we’ve got only a couple of young centre-halves.

‘That will be more to relieve the lads of their legs and not for me to get involved to push a case for a place in the starting line-up!

‘They are not going to play 90 minutes tonight and then 90 minutes on Tuesday.

‘So I can go in there and, hopefully, they can learn off me.

‘It can be seen as a coaching tool for the young lads to talk them through rather than shouting from the sidelines.

‘Then when there is Bolton and other big pre-season games, I won’t feature at all I would have thought.’