Awford: Holmes will add balance

Lee Holmes, right, has penned a loan deal at Pompey
Lee Holmes, right, has penned a loan deal at Pompey
Theo Widdrington. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841-4476)

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Lee Holmes will add crucial balance to Pompey’s attacking capabilities.

That is the verdict of Andy Awford, who is convinced the left-sided player’s loan arrival will boost his squad.

Miles Storey shone on the left-hand side of midfield in the 3-0 victory over Morecambe at the weekend.

Ricky Holmes and Andy Barcham have also operated in that role this season.

Yet all three are right-footed players – as are other options Jed Wallace and Jack Maloney.

And Awford believes the recruitment of the left-footed Holmes can provide a different dimension to the Blues’ play.

He said: ‘Lee is one we have known about for a little while.

‘He is a hard-working winger and – similar to Marcus Bean and Matt Fish who I brought in last week – knows the level and knows the league.

‘I just felt we needed a bit of balance down the left-hand side.

‘Ricky Holmes is right-footed, Miles Storey is right-footed, Andy Barcham is right-footed.

‘Now we have a natural left-sided player and that is something I believe can help the squad.

‘I have not got a problem with playing right-footed players on the left side, I really don’t.

‘Miles did well in that position on Saturday but can also play up front or wide on the right.

‘Lee gives us that genuine balance and will cross it with his left foot. We’ve been monitoring him and I am looking forward to working with him.’

Holmes endured an injury-hit stay at Southampton from 2008-12, making just 43 appearances.

The winger kick-started his career again at Preston, where he has made 75 appearances to date.

That included featuring 41 times in League One last term, scoring three goals.

However, his sole outing this campaign has been in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as an eight-minute substitute last month.

The 27-year-old didn’t make the match-day 18 for the FA Cup trip to the Hawks earlier this month.

But Awford insists there are no concerns over Holmes’ fitness, with the player scheduled to remain at Fratton Park initially until January.

And the winger is in the frame for Saturday’s trip to Tranmere Rovers.

‘We did background checks on Lee and we are happy – so he is available for Saturday,’ added Awford.

‘He has not played too much this season but that is why he was available for loan in the first place.

‘The loan is until January, we have not yet discussed anything beyond that.’

Holmes started his career at Derby – at the time becoming their youngest-ever player at 15 years and 268 days.

He went on to make 52 appearances for the Rams before moving on a free transfer to St Mary’s in 2008.