Pompey boss targets more new signings

Pompey new boy Michael Poke Picture: Colin Farmery
Pompey new boy Michael Poke Picture: Colin Farmery
Jez Bedford

Pompey recall midfielder Bedford

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Andy Awford was satisfied with a busy day’s work after making a double transfer swoop but revealed: I’m not finished yet.

The Blues boss yesterday landed goalkeeper Michael Poke and central-midfielder James Dunne – both on two-year deals – as he continued his squad overhaul for the new League Two campaign.

Swindon forward Miles Storey is also on his hit list, with discussions over a season-long loan ongoing with his parent club.

But Awford admitted he is closing in on another, this time unnamed, target and is hopeful of tying up at least one more new recruit before pre-season training begins tomorrow.

‘I’m delighted to get Michael and James over the line and we are still working on one or two other things,’ said Awford.

‘Whether we will get them done in time for the start of pre-season, I don’t know.

‘But we are going in the right direction. We are bringing in players who will improve us and we are getting closer to where I want us to be.

‘There are still one or two areas I want to address.’

Poke, 28, was at Torquay last season and had a spell at Brighton after coming through the ranks at Southampton, where he made four first-team appearances.

The 6ft 2in Londoner has also had several loan spells – including time at Bristol Rovers and Oldham – and has been signed to battle for the number-one spot with fellow new recruit Paul Jones.

Poke’s arrival also ends the prospect of former Blues keeper Trevor Carson returning to the club.

The Northern Irishman is now set to join Cheltenham Town after he was not offered a new deal at Pompey.

Awford said: ‘I wanted another keeper to compete with Paul Jones so I’m delighted to bring Michael in.

‘He’s got experience on his side, he’s played for some good clubs at the right level and he will come in and battle with Paul in that area.

‘There is no number one or number two goalkeeper.

‘They will both fight for the shirt and then I will make my mind up on August 8. It’s as simple as that.

‘He’s a solid, all-round goalkeeper.’

Dunne, meanwhile, has joined from Stevenage on a two-year-deal, with a further 12-month option, after spending part of last season on loan at Scottish side St Johnstone.

And Awford predicts the 24-year-old midfielder, who is believed to have signed after a five-figure fee was agreed with the Boro, will become a popular figure with Blues fans.

‘James caught my eye when I was scouting Alex Cisak a while ago when Oldham played Stevenage,’ said Awford

‘He’s a player that I think Pompey fans will really take to. He gives 120 per cent and is a real box-to-box player.

‘We’ve been tracking him all summer and, thankfully, we have managed to secure his signature.’