Awford’s transfer shift

Conor Chaplin. Pic: Joe Pepler

Baker and team selection to fore as Pompey fans have say

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Andy Awford admits there has been a shift in his transfer policy as he closes in on another new recruit.

The Pompey boss confirmed yesterday that an enquiry had been made about taking Preston winger Lee Holmes on loan.

Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes

The 27-year-old is out of the first-team picture at Deepdale and has featured just once this term, although he made 41 appearances in League One last season.

But the former England under-19 man, who played 43 times for Southampton during an injury-hampered four-year spell, has also played in League Two during a loan spell with Oxford in 2012.

And that appears to fit the blueprint of experienced League Two campaigners after the recent arrivals of Matt Fish and Marcus Bean – two players who know exactly what is required to succeed in the basement division.

That extra knowledge was evident as the duo turned in assured debuts in the 3-0 win over Morecambe at the weekend.

Awford said: ‘Maybe there’s a slight difference in the type of player we are looking at.

‘The thing that is great about the two we’ve brought in is that they have both been promoted out of this league.

‘We are not bringing in lads who have only played in the Premier League or don’t know what to expect coming into this division.

‘They know the level and they know exactly what it’s all about.

‘That was important and a key criteria for me in us bringing them in.

‘They know what is needed to be successful in League Two.’

Pompey have been accused of lacking experience in dealing with League Two’s physical and direct approach – especially away from home so far this season.

But while Awford is keen to add quality to the ranks before Thursday’s emergency loan deadline, he also wants the right type of character to fit into the group.

He said: ‘I’m not going to stop looking at players who play at a higher level.

‘There might still be a particular player who I think could still do it in League Two.

‘But I felt at this moment in time, what we needed was players who knew the level.

‘I’d seen them play, so I knew what I was getting as players.

‘But I did my checks on them as characters as well.

‘That is just as important.’

Pompey now have five loan players in their squad – the maximum that can be used in a match-day squad.

But that will not deter Awford from bringing in more recruits if they fit the bill.

He said: ‘If I need to and they are within budget, I can.

‘It just means that we can only have a maximum of five loans in a match-day squad, which I agree with.

‘We’ve got a database of players and some good contacts in the game.

‘So we are making enquiries about a few players.’