Awfs plotting perfect cup weekend

Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kal Naismith was gaffer for a day Phil Whyte's man of the match against Cambridge United. Photo by Joe Pepler

Pompey 2 Cambridge United 1: Gaffer for a day

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ANDY AWFORD is looking for the best-possible outcome to the area’s biggest-ever FA Cup weekend.

And the Pompey boss has joined forces with the Hawks and Gosport to help plot their rivals’ downfall.

Awford has contacted both of the non-league sides’ bosses ahead of their first-round ties.

It’s a double dose of League One action for them as Colchester visit Privett Park with Preston going to Westleigh Park on Monday.

Awford has opened up his club’s resources ahead of the games, with Aldershot coming to Fratton Park tomorrow.

He said: ‘I’ve sent discs for Lee (Bradbury) and Pikey (Alex Pike) and rang both of them.

‘I’m mates with both of them, so if we can help in any way, we will.

‘Hawks are training at our new training ground today.

‘It’s great for the area we all have the games at home.

‘They have League One sides and it’s an exciting time.

‘I just hope we all get through and then avoid each other again.

‘I know Alex said he’d like to play us. I actually think it’s better we don’t, so we get a better opportunity at more teams getting through from the area.

‘It’s exciting times.’

Awford admitted he has some reservations about how the games have been staged – with Gosport and Pompey kicking off at the same time tomorrow.

But that is secondary to lending his support to the community’s local outfits.

He hasn’t forgotten how they gave Pompey backing in tough times.

Awford said: ‘It’s brilliant. It’s brilliant for the area.

‘It would’ve been nice to have the games staged separately but we have no choice over that. But, for the area, it’s great. We had some bridges to build.

‘These clubs helped us in our hour of need, so if we can return the compliment we will.

‘I was in the Academy back then and we played at Bognor, played and trained at the Hawks and had players on loan at Gosport.

‘All the way through the troubled times we had strong links.

‘The people in the local area have seen we’ve helped each other – and that will continue. It’s the right way to be.

‘We’re a one-club city so we have a responsibility to help the non-league clubs.’

Awford underlined he hopes to see the bond with the likes of the Hawks and Gosport continue to flourish moving forward.

Pompey’s matchday will take 
priority tomorrow and he’ll be on a coaching course Monday.

But looking out for the non-league side’s Cup results will be on his agenda, too.

Awford said: ‘The relationship will continue.

‘As long as the people in charge of the clubs stay the same, so will the relationship.

‘Don’t get me wrong, if some idiot goes in at Hawks or Gosport it won’t.

‘It has to be a two-way thing and, at the moment, it is. There’s Moneyfields and Bognor, too. They’ll get full support from our club in any way we can. That’s the way it should be.

‘The first result I’ll look for on Sunday will be Gosport and I’ll follow the Hawks game on Monday.’

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