Awford on goalkeeping hunt to solve Academy headache

Academy boss Andy Awford
Academy boss Andy Awford
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Joe Gallen. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey Academy have handed trials to three keepers as they seek to solve a long-standing problem.

The Blues have been without a stopper since halfway through last year’s title-winning campaign.

First-choice Connor O’Hara left for disciplinary reasons.

That meant Andy Awford had to bring in Lewis Ward, on loan from Reading, and then Luke Colquhoun, from Brighton.

But the Blues still captured the Youth Alliance under-18 south-east division on the final day of the season.

This summer under-16 stopper Claude Da Costa has also left, meaning the Academy is another keeper short.

But Awford is bringing in a number of triallists as he seeks to sign one before the season begins.

He said: ‘We have three triallists in at the moment and a couple more coming in during pre-season.

‘We are hoping to have one signed who can serve as an apprentice and join the other six players who were last week’s intake.

‘The thing is we did have a youth-team keeper in O’Hara.

‘But he left for disciplinary reasons while our under-16 keeper has now also gone.

‘Both have left us for different reasons and now we are looking to bring somebody in.

‘Of the lads we are assessing at the moment, two of them are without clubs having been released.

‘A couple have been recommended who haven’t been in the system before.

‘We are casting the net high and wide in that area, giving ourselves plenty of options.

‘The Academy’s goalkeeping coach, Tom Fawdry, will be looking at all of them – deciding which player has the best potential to take us forward.

‘Knightsie (Alan Knight) is also having a little input.

‘We will take our time, we’re not going to rush into it.

‘They will be assessed over the course of pre-season.’

Pompey this week welcomed six new scholars.

Lewis Gill, Brandon Haunstrup, James Granger, Fahad Rwakarambwe, Conor Chaplin and Chad Field have all joined.

They will be in the first year of a potential two-year scholarship.