Managers need time to thrive

Romain Padovani was Pompey's hero on Boxing Day 2013
Romain Padovani was Pompey's hero on Boxing Day 2013
Nathan Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing

Pompey looking for history to repeat in cup

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Cast your minds back a year.

On Boxing Day, 2013, Pompey scraped to a 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at Fratton Park.

A French midfielder named Romain Padovani headed the only goal of an uninspiring game.

Frankly, we didn’t care too much that it was a dull match.

Pompey badly needed a win under their new manager Richie Barker after his two previous games had ended in 2-0 defeats.

At last, lift off and a step towards a positive upturn in results as Barker put his stamp on the team.

Or so we all thought.

Three days later, a miserable 0-0 draw against bottom club Northampton Town took place, before a New Year’s day defeat at Southend and a run of depressing results.

While things are not going well for Andy Awford at the moment, we are not at that stage of requiring change to prevent a disaster.

Barker’s brief tenure lurched from narrow wins where we all thought the corner had been turned, to goalless draws and gutless defeats that left us all worrying about the prospect of non-league football.

When Barker was sent on his way, Awford came in, reeled off five wins and kept Pompey up.

Had the season gone on for another few weeks, the play-offs were a genuine possibility.

Negativity had been replaced by positive vibes.

We all expected progress this season and it’s fair to say we expected things to continue in the same vein as the end of last term.

Awford knows it hasn’t happened yet and the supporters are growing increasingly restless.

An injection of positivity is needed all over again.

Some are suggesting his job is under threat but the recent appointment of Gary Waddock as assistant manager would surely suggest that the board are determined to stick with their man this time around.

That Boxing Day game from a year ago is worth another look.

Just one player from that Pompey line-up featured in the dreadful 2-0 loss to AFC Wimbledon yesterday.

Jed Wallace was the sole survivor of both games, although Jack Whatmough was an unused substitute in 2013.

And that tells you all you need to know about the continuity of a club and a team when the managerial changes are so frequent.

If, as some would like, Awford is replaced, it would herald another period of major upheaval at Fratton Park.

Many, however, believe he needs to be given time to get it right and to mould the squad he wants.

A new man would want his own players and a clutch of the current side would be surplus to requirements. The flip side is that he might have that instant impact that Awford had but there are no guarantees, as we saw with Barker.

Pompey already have far too many players on their books but have the opportunity to clear the decks in the summer, with 16 players out of contract.

The board have shown faith but that is bound to be tested if results don’t improve.

But it’s when the times are hard, that faith and backing is really tested.