ANDY BARCHAM has been challenged to fight his way back into Pompey’s starting XI.
Boss Andy Awford has called on the winger to show his determination after a period out in the cold.
The wide man has started just a single league game this season for the Blues – on the opening day at Exeter.
The 27-year-old has found minutes hard to come by since, with the Capital One Cup loss at Stoke his only other appearance from the outset.
Awford admitted the former Spurs trainee has been a victim of the formations he’s largely adopted.
‘Andy has started the one league game this season –Exeter,’ said Awford.
‘It comes down to opinion. That’s what football’s about.
‘If you look at our players, I have Ricky Holmes, Miles Storey, Jed Wallace and Craig Westcarr who can all do that job in a 4-2-3-1.
‘I’ve got good options in those areas.
‘It’s been horses for courses.
‘We’ve also played wing-backs an awful lot with the 3-5-2 system.
‘Ricky Holmes has played one game as a left winger – on Sunday. He started as wing-back against Oxford and was in the hole against Newport.
‘We haven’t played with too much width in terms of wingers.
‘Andy has almost been lacking in opportunity because of the system we’ve played. That’s more why he hasn’t featured so much.
‘We played 4-3-3 the first game of the season at Exeter and he’s there in that wide area.
‘I’ve got good options in wide areas. As and when we revert to playing wide players, not wing-backs but wide players, it’s down to him to make sure he gets a shirt.’
Awford pinpointed the re-emergence of Johnny Ertl over the past two games as evidence players who are out of the picture will get their chance.
Barcham was on the scoresheet as Pompey reserves returned to action this week with a win at Peterborough.
Awford had nothing but praise for his attitude.
‘Andy played 90 minutes for the reserves and scored a decent header,’ added Awford.
‘Everyone came through it well. They’ve all played well, I’ve watched it back and Macca (Alan McLoughlin) was there.
‘Those reserve games are vital for him to show he is ready. He’s been spot on. They all have.
‘Look at Johnny Ertl, who hasn’t been making squads.
‘Then he comes back in and has two decent games.
‘They are all disappointed when they don’t play. They all have the hump for a few minutes. I was the same when I played. It’s football.
‘It’s the same in any business. When you’re picked you’re happy, when you’re not, you’re not.
‘You get on and make your case. That’s part and parcel of it.’