Pompey boss aiming to hit new market

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Rotherham 1-0 Pompey: they said what?

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ANDY AWFORD is planning to plunder the loan market as his recruitment drive gathers pace.

And the Pompey boss explained he is hoping to bring in players who are currently contracted at other clubs ahead of the new campaign.

He explained that may be a tricky process, however, with targets having to negotiate pay-offs for existing deals before the Blues can swoop.

Awford has wrapped up four signings to date, with Danny Hollands and Paul Jones signing, while Nicky Shorey and Jed Wallace have agreed new terms.

He is now looking at other avenues to bolster his options further.

With Pompey still unable to pay fees for players, as part of the terms of exiting administration, the club are restricted on where they can look for new faces.

But Awford explained it’s not solely players who are out of contract being targeted.

He said: ‘We’re down the road with a few now.

‘And there may be some which won’t happen until well into pre-season.

‘You have your targets.

‘If he is out of contract, which a lot are in the summer, contracts generally expire on June 30, so you can talk to that player straightaway. You do that.

‘Because of our situation we can’t pay fees.

‘If there’s a free transfer out there with a year left on his contract it becomes more complicated. There’s, say, a year’s money they are owed by their club. That has to be taken into consideration.

‘So it’s not solely the free transfer market.

‘There are others and there’s obviously a loan market we have our eyes on.

‘The loans normally have more clubs chasing them. They’re a bit more difficult to do. But there are players there as well.

‘It’s about finding that right player, targeting them and speaking to them.’

Awford has been incessantly meeting players for discussions since the end of the campaign.

He underlined his conviction he can convince them to join Pompey when discussions take place.

Awford said: ‘We find out if the player wants to come and then the agent gets involved.

‘That’s when we pass it on to people at the club to do the financials. I then talk to the player about what I think.

‘It’s not a sales pitch because it’s real. I’m not over-egging it because I believe it.

‘That’s one of my skills – putting things across.

‘I’m talking to players we want. But then you have to understand there are others who want these players.

‘If I was a player I would talk to all of these clubs.

‘If 10 clubs wanted me I’d talk to all 10 clubs. That takes time. He will choose where he wants to go and he then hopefully signs.

‘It’s not just a case of “hello mate, do you want a contract?” It can be a long-drawn-out process.’