Awford demands Pompey actions not words

Jed Wallace battles for the ball. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace battles for the ball. Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey owner Balram Chainrai

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Andy Awford has instructed his players cut out the words and instead respond to Pompey’s latest setback with positive actions where it matters.

The Blues boss stopped his players speaking to the press after Saturday’s awful 3-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle.

Awford took the highly-unusual step after the latest frustrating performance away from home, this time captured on television cameras.

He dismissed the notion of the usual platitudes and apologies being delivered by members of his under-performing side to supporters.

Instead he challenged the players to let their football do the talking, starting with victory in the FA Cup replay at Aldershot Town on Wednesday night.

He said: ‘I have no problems with the players speaking to the press but I think whatever they did Saturday there could be a problem.

‘I know people want to read in The News about what the players think but whatever they had said Saturday they wouldn’t win.

‘If they come out and say “that wasn’t good enough and we have got to respond” they are open for criticism for coming out and saying that. And if they come out and say nothing they get criticised for that as well.

‘I actually told the players not to say anything afterwards because actions speak louder than words in my opinion and we have to make sure the actions on Wednesday night are a lot better than they were on Saturday.

‘Actions speak louder than words without a shadow of a doubt. We talk before the game, we talk after the game, we all want to do this, we all want to do that – but it is what you do out there that matters.

‘We have got to be ready to go on Wednesday night and put in an improved performance at Aldershot.

‘I would rather the players came out and showed actions Wednesday night rather than coming and giving words.

‘I am not being difficult by stopping people coming and talking to the press, it is not me being difficult, arrogant or anything like that.

‘I just think the players won’t get a win coming out and speaking after Plymouth.’

Reuben Reid grabbed two and Lewis Alessandra the other as the in-form Pilgrims comprehensively dismantled Pompey.

Nick Awford was given his Football League full debut.

While Jack Whatmough was pressed into a role further forward in a revamped midfield, within a 4-1-4-1 system.

As a result Nigel Atangana was dropped to the bench following his start against Aldershot, while Johnny Ertl failed to make the match-day 18.

However, Awford explained problems away from football had ruled out the Austrian for selection at Home Park on Saturday.

He added: ‘With Johnny I don’t want to go into it too much to be honest, it is a private issue and he wasn’t available for selection for personal matters.

‘He has been training but wasn’t available on Saturday, I’m afraid.

‘He would have been a consideration. He does a job in the middle of the park for you but wasn’t available.’