ANDY AWFORD believes Pompey’s targets can see they mean business after Danny Hollands’ arrival.
But he promised he’ll only bring in players who show they have the hunger to play for the Blues this summer.
Hollands became the first signing of Awford’s tenure as manager on Thursday, as he inked an initial two-year deal after leaving Charlton.
The 28-year-old free agent turned down more lucrative offers from sides in higher divisions to be part of the Pompey project.
Bringing in the midfielder means the Blues boss has landed his ‘primary target’ after he shone at the end of last season while on loan at Fratton Park.
Hollands bagged five goals in six starts and showed some excellent form to heighten his status.
Despite other interest, Awford got his man and knows people will see that as a message of intent.
He said: ‘Danny was always a prime target for us after what he did at the end of last season.
‘We did our very best to get that deal done.
‘If people want to view it as a statement of intent they can. People might look at it like that. They might look at it that way.
‘We’ve got irons in fires and are talking to lots of players. If it helps show someone that Portsmouth are serious then great.
‘I’m hoping they want to come for their own reasons and not because we are signing other players.
‘I want players at this football club because they want to be here.
‘If that helps them to be here that is great, though.
‘Danny gives us experience, know-how, knowledge and game management in the middle of the park.
‘All of those types of things are vital.
‘He’s a really good addition to the squad and I’m delighted to get him.’
Awford was impressed with how Hollands slotted straight into his first-team plans when he came in as caretaker boss.
The Chelsea trainee started Awford’s first game at Newport County and helped turned the club’s season around.
That’s whetted his manager’s appetite for working with him again.
Awford said: ‘What did Danny bring last season? Wins! He was part of a group who did very well.
‘He joined at the same time as I slotted in as manager.
‘The day I took over as caretaker manager was the day he arrived on loan.
‘We didn’t know how he would fit in, but he took to it like a duck to water.
‘I knew he was a central-midfielder player who was left sided, so he gives you that balance.
‘When he came in you could see what he was.
‘He had a rest against Northampton but I brought him on just after half-time because I thought he was needed.
‘He was a main player for us in achieving the goals we set at the end of last season.
‘Hopefully that will continue. I’m looking forward to working with him.’