Macca backed to help Academy flourish

Together again: Alan McLoughlin and Andy Awford
Together again: Alan McLoughlin and Andy Awford
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Alan McLoughlin is the man to help Pompey’s youth set-up continue to flourish.

That is the verdict of Andy Awford, who yesterday brought the Blues legend back to Fratton Park.

McLoughlin has been appointed as Academy senior coach, predominantly working with the under-16s.

It is another key appointment for Awford, as he continues to make his mark on the Academy following his arrival in January.

McLoughlin made 354 appearances and scored 67 goals during nine seasons at Fratton Park.

The former Republic of Ireland international would go on to coach and then manage Forest Green Rovers.

Now he has returned to Fratton.

And Awford is delighted with the appointment of his ex-Pompey team-mate.

The Academy manager said: ‘Things are starting to take shape and having Macca on board will help us progress.

‘I’ve known him for a long time, having played with him, but that is not the be-all and end-all to get a job here.

‘It is a benefit he knows the club but the important thing is I know he can do the job.

‘He will work predominantly with the under-16s but will also dip his toe in and out of other age groups in the Academy department.

‘Something I have identified is the lads don’t have enough knowledge of what is required to make the jump from schoolboy to apprentice to first team.

‘There isn’t the know-how in the Academy for our lads.

‘We have some very, very good coaches but haven’t enough knowledge in there for the lads to make that jump.

‘It is no good us trying to teach them this at under-18s. We need to get to them a lot younger.

‘Macca will also help filter through our coaching philosophy and our key concepts as myself and Paul (Hardyman) don’t have enough contact time with them.

‘He is a good, hard-working lad who is a good coach who wants to come in and help take us forward.’

McLoughlin joins Paul Hardyman and Awford as the ex-Pompey playing contingent at the club.

Dave Hurst, who spent 30 years as development officer and scout, has also been brought back to Fratton.

He has been appointed as head of youth recruitment for an initial year.