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Awford: We can turn to youth

13/11/12_SPORT
Action from Pompey vs Woking in the FA Youth Cup.
Andy Awford  back in his role coaching the Pompey youth team.

Picture: Steve Reid (123706-017)

13/11/12_SPORT Action from Pompey vs Woking in the FA Youth Cup. Andy Awford back in his role coaching the Pompey youth team. Picture: Steve Reid (123706-017)

 

Andy Awford believes Pompey can put their faith in youngsters as he declared: They can save us millions.

The former Blues skipper is currently combining his role as Academy boss with the first-team assistant manager’s role.

And Awford has revealed Pompey are ready to turn to their youth ranks ahead of an anticipated squad shake-up in January.

Pompey must still operate with a 20-man squad limit and cannot simply promote young players when they want to. However, Awford believes some would be ready to step in if required.

He said: ‘There are certainly some good footballers in the development squad and the under-18s who, if required for the first team, wouldn’t let us down.

‘The youth team are on a great run of seven straight wins and they would be considered as well. Some of them will be knocking on the door – definitely.

‘They could end up saving the club a lot of money and then potentially earning the club an awful lot of money in the long term.

‘If we needed to put young players into the 20-man squad, we would do that.

‘It’s something myself and Guy (Whittingham) have discussed and we’d have no qualms about it.’

Awford was famously in a crop of talented youngsters who Jim Smith turned to back in the early 1990s alongside Darren Anderton, Kit Symons and Darryl Powell.

All of them bar Awford were eventually sold for big transfer fees, while he would have probably followed had he not broken his leg at a time when there was serious interest in him from Premier League clubs.

But now Awford is eager to see some of the rookies make the same step up, although he warned they are not ready to be thrown in to Pompey’s first team at the same time.

Awford said: ‘There were the four of us back then but we had all had a bit of a nibble leading up to that.

‘There was a special crop that earned the club millions in Anderton, Symons and Powell.

‘They were all sold for fortunes and I’m the only one who ended up costing the club money!

‘But these lads haven’t had that taste of the first team yet. They all played at Plymouth when, let’s be honest, they shouldn’t have.

‘For me, they haven’t had enough of a taste to put them all in together.

‘If you put six in at one time, you’d have a problem.

‘Blooding one or two, and giving them some experience is a good thing in my eyes.’

Awford also revealed he is in discussions with caretaker boss Whittingham over the plans to revamp the squad in January, although they are still waiting for a budget.

He said: ‘We are looking at every eventuality at the moment.

‘It depends on which players are available and it depends if they are within our budget.’

 

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