Awford: More to come from winger

Lee Holmes. ''Picture: Joe Pepler
Lee Holmes. ''Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey fans have been told there is plenty more to come following Lee Holmes’ eye-catching cameo.

That is verdict of Andy Awford after the winger conjured up a highly-encouraging Prenton Park debut.

The loanee, from Preston, was introduced to the left flank in the 56th minute in place of the injured Ryan Taylor.

His first touch was to deliver the corner which led to Jed Wallace’s leveller.

He continued to threaten with his delivery from wide areas and trickery, involving step overs at pace.

For Holmes, it was a first league appearance of the campaign, having fallen out of favour at the Lillywhites.

And despite the Blues’ 3-1 defeat, Awford was delighted with the former Southampton player’s first impression.

‘The fans glimpsed half an hour of Lee and they will see a lot more in the coming games,’ said the manager.

‘He will be a good player for us.

‘I liked how he was attack-minded when he came on, kept the tempo up and tried his best.

‘Lee played a contribution in our goal with a great delivery from the set-piece and was fine after that.

‘He has a left foot on him and gives us that natural balance down the left-hand side and is willing to go on the outside and cross it from that area.

‘The lad’s trained really well since he arrived here. It is difficult coming into a new group sometimes, but there are a couple of players from previous clubs and some he knows from playing against them and he has been fine in training.

‘There will be more to come from Lee, definitely.’

Awford elected to head to Tranmere with an unchanged side, despite Holmes’ arrival during the week.

The same XI which impressed in the 3-0 win over Morecambe were entrusted with starting spots.

That meant Miles Storey was retained on the left-hand side of midfield following his two assists against the Shrimps.

It was the first time Pompey had kept the same team since the trip to Hartlepool on September 27.

Awford admitted he considered throwing in Holmes for an instant debut on the left flank.

His only other appearance, though, was as an eight-minute substitute for Preston in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Port Vale.

Yet Awford instead opted to retain a winning team as he strived to end the Blues’ dreadful away form.

‘It was a big decision about Lee. We spoke about it, it was about whether we brought him straight into the team,’ added Awford.

‘We were going to play 4-4-2, definitely – it was just about the personnel involved in that so that was the decision we faced.

‘I felt we played that well at home against Morecambe the same XI deserved that opportunity.’