Awford: Storey benefiting from rest

Miles Storey Picture: Joe Pepler
Miles Storey Picture: Joe Pepler
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It was a withdrawal from first-team service which attracted criticism from some of the Fratton faithful.

Yet Andy Awford believes his handling of Miles Storey was fully justified as the forward enjoys a Pompey resurgence.

Despite the Blues struggling to score goals, the Swindon Town loanee was removed from contention for a three-game spell from the end of September.

Instead, Awford and his coaches opted to work with Storey on the training ground in an attempt to rebuild what they perceived as damaged confidence.

Now the 20-year-old is established in the side, starting seven of the past eight matches and scoring twice.

And for Awford, the refreshed youngster is now supplying the quality he always believed he was capable of.

He said: ‘Miles has been excellent recently, he really has.

‘He has been great since he came back in and that is the reaction we wanted from him.

‘I think we did the right thing giving him that break because he wasn’t in a good place but he is now and a major threat with his pace and delivery.

‘He is full of confidence and that is what you want. He is firing, he is a good footballer.

‘It was the right thing to do to take him out, I think the evidence is there.

‘I probably took a bit of stick for leaving him out but I needed to.

‘I don’t see the point of putting players on the pitch if they are not in the right frame of mind, they have to be right.

‘They are complex characters – as I was as a footballer and still am!

‘You have to get them right and that is part of management. He is right at the moment.’

Before Storey’s time out of the side, he had made just five starts following his season-long arrival from Swindon.

Chiefly employed as an impact player from the bench, Awford sensed the youngster needed a confidence boost.

It was an approach used with Michael Drennan last season following Awford’s elevation as caretaker boss – the Villa striker going on to grab two goals in a crucial win over Dagenham & Redbridge.

Success has also followed with Storey, whose pace and directness gives the Blues a different dimension in attacking positions.

He also impressed on the left-wing against Morecambe, weighing in with two assists.

But Awford sees him as better equipped for a more central role.

He added: ‘In my opinion Miles is probably better suited up front.

‘You can play him out wide, though, and when he first came in I had visions of Wes Fogden playing behind the front man in the same system we played last year.

‘Miles could have done the top job and played as a number nine with Foggy off him, or the seven or 11 on the wings.

‘Now we are playing 4-4-2 that role is a little bit different.

‘He now has got to go and do it away, as they all have. There is a challenge for them all to be more consistent on the road.’