No numbers game for Pompey boss

Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Andy Awford is refusing to set a limit on his squad size for next season.

The Pompey boss is ploughing on with his recruitment plans for his first full season at the helm.

Awford is busy shaping his options after releasing nine players earlier this month.

Pompey are in discussions with five out-of-contract players, including Jed Wallace, Nicky Shorey and Bondz N’Gala.

Loan players Dan Alfei, Danny Hollands, Michael Drennan and Trevor Carson have also now departed.

But Hollands’ return is a priority for Awford, with Carson also favoured as a goalkeeping option.

After handing senior deals to Pompey Academy graduates Ben Close and Bradley Tarbuck, the current squad number stands at 21.

But the likes of David Connolly and John Sullivan, whose Pompey futures remain unclear, are counted among that total.

Awford knows strengthening is needed but is not keen to put an optimum number on his squad.

He said: There is no figure whatsoever.

‘I just want enough players to be competitive.

‘If that figure is 50, it’s 50. If it’s 18, it’s 18. I haven’t got a set figure.

‘Some managers like to work with 30, 26 or 24 players.

‘I think I want enough good players to be competitive next season.’

Meanwhile, Awford isn’t expecting any imminent arrivals as he plots his way forward with additions.

Reuben Reid is on his radar as he looks to boost his striking options.

But the Pompey boss is casting his net wide when weighing up his moves and isn’t going to rush into bringing in new faces.

He said: ‘We will be looking at a lot of players and keeping our options open over the next few weeks.’