Pompey boss has fixture wishes granted

Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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They were Andy Awford’s three Pompey wishes.

And yesterday the Football League ensured they were granted, following the unveiling of the next season’s fixture list.

The Blues boss was eager to start off the campaign with an away match for the Saturday, August 9 opener.

He was rewarded with a trip to Exeter City.

Next up was a desire for a Boxing Day game at Fratton Park – with AFC Wimbledon coming good on that request.

Finally, Awford longed for a home match on May 2 to bring the curtain down on the season and whatever it may bring.

Pompey’s final fixture is against York City at Fratton Park.

A full house then for a delighted Awford as the fabled Football League computer came to his aid.

He said: ‘I have been very lucky. My three wishes have been granted.

‘The first one would be for an away fixture in the opening match.

‘I knew if that happened the next two in the league would be at home.

‘I remember last season with the expectations ahead of that first game against Oxford which unfortunately fell flat.

‘That is in the past, now we move forward but it was a consideration of mine when thinking about the fixtures we could have.

‘The other matter was having the attraction of two of the first three fixtures at Fratton Park, which is what this now gives us.

‘Throw in Peterborough in the Capital One Cup and three of our first four are at home.

‘I also wanted a home fixture on Boxing Day.

‘It’s always nice having that and makes it far easier to organise from a logistical point of view – rather than having the players here, there and everywhere.

‘So we’ve got AFC Wimbledon – and I’m also pleased with a visit to Cheltenham the week before.

‘I recall Hartlepool away a couple of years ago in the match before Christmas, the traffic is always a nightmare for those weekends.

‘We spent all day travelling there and then it got called off on the morning of the game.

‘The last wish I had was to end the season at home, which is a great way to finish everything.

‘Hopefully the York game will be a celebration – we will see how that goes.

‘In terms of who we play, it does not matter, you play them all over the season, there is no difference.’

Following the opener against Exeter, the Blues face Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.

They then have consecutive Fratton Park league matches against Cambridge United (August 16) and Northampton (Tuesday, August 19).

Completing the August line up is a visit to Oxford (August 23) and a home match with Newport County (August 30).

There is no New Year’s Day fixture, instead Pompey host Tranmere on January 3.

The season finishes with a home match against York on May 2.