No trials and tribulations for Awford

Ryan Bird scored twice against the Hawks on his debut as a Hawks triallist
Ryan Bird scored twice against the Hawks on his debut as a Hawks triallist
Plymouth Argyle's Remi Matthews. Picture: PA Images

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Pompey has been a haven for triallists during its various regime guises in recent times.

The stage for Eugen Bopp to resurrect his career and a chance for Brazilian international Geovanni to taste English football for the first time.

An opportunity for youngsters Berlin Ndebe-Nlome and OJ Koromah to make a name and a platform provided to an unknown midfielder called Andy Henry.

Or how about Burnham striker Ryan Bird being granted a shot at his dream of making it into the Football League.

Blues fans have observed a wide range of triallists during pre-seasons of yesteryear. Well, not any more.

None have yet ventured on to the Pompey training ground this summer – and Blues boss Andy Awford doesn’t anticipate that altering.

With a squad of 27 at present, Pompey’s manager has no desire to swell numbers with triallists striving to win deals.

Unlike predecessors such as Guy Whittingham, the nucleus of his team already resides at Fratton Park during these early pre-season stages.

That positive scenario enables Awford to be a little more selective on who he allows into his training sessions.

And admitting triallists is currently not on his agenda.

‘I’ve got my squad – the only ones that will come in now are new signings, that is where we are at,’ said Awford.

‘If a triallist does come in it will because he hasn’t been flagged up yet. So if you see one soon it is not me being clever!

‘But if the season started tomorrow I would be very confident and at the moment I don’t need to bring a triallist in.

‘I don’t sign a player unless I have seen him play and presently there are no triallists out there that I think will improve what we have got.

‘There are another couple of targets and if they happen great. If they don’t come they don’t. I am comfortable with what we have got, although if we can add quality to it then I will.

‘If someone rings me who I trust and respect, or part of our recruitment team flag up a player, then I might have them in.

‘Never say never, it needs to be a right triallist.

‘It’s no good if I’ve got six very good central-midfield players and they are flagging me up a central-midfield player, with respect, that I had never seen play.

‘In that situation I don’t see the point of wasting everybody’s time.

‘But – and I always use this as an example – if Wayne Rooney wants to come in on trial then of course we will have a look at him!

‘It has to be the right one – although I don’t envisage too many coming in, if any.’

Bird arrived on trial last summer with Michael Bryan and capped his friendly debut with two goals against the Hawks.

He scored three times in 22 games last season, with the Blues activating an option to retain him for another 12 months.

Amdy Faye has proven to be the most impressive summer triallist find of recent times, playing 52 games before he was sold to Newcastle for £2m in January 2005.

Bopp bagged a double against the Hawks in July 2009 and remained at the club for the season, although never played competitively.

Berlin and Koromah were given deals under former boss Harry Redknapp but never featured for the side.

Meanwhile, Geovanni left to join Manchester City after lining-up against Yeovil in July 2007.