Pompey talent’s attacking challenge

Pompey full-back Dan Butler
Pompey full-back Dan Butler
Pompey's match at Oldham was disrupted by the snow on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Dan Butler has been challenged to break into Pompey’s first team and become a marauding menace.

Andy Awford wants the promising left-back to showcase his forward-thinking talent in his second full campaign at senior level.

Butler has returned from a loan stay at Aldershot last season, and is set to vie with Nicky Shorey as the main contenders for the starting spot on the left-side of defence.

The 19-year-old made an impact on his major first-team breakthrough in January last year.

But the likes of Danny East, Marcos Painter and loanees Dan Potts and Dan Alfei were preferred by former bosses Guy Whittingham and Richie Barker last season.

Awford has faith in the ability of the Isle of Wight talent, though, and sees him as part of his plans.

And he wants to see him as the energised full-back he is at his best in the coming months.

Awford said: ‘Dan went out on loan for a bit last year and had good experience with Aldershot.

‘Now he’s back in the squad and in the mix to earn a shirt.

‘He is a young one in his age group. Although he’s a third-year pro, he’s three days away from being a second year.

‘You might have some in his year group who may be nearly a year older.

‘Is he maturing? Yes, he’s come back in and trained and given his all, like always.

‘He’s part of the squad and has to try to get into the team.

‘He has to try to get the shirt and play well.

‘He’s made two mistakes in two games since coming into the first team.

‘If he didn’t make mistakes he’d be playing for Manchester United. It’s part and parcel of football.

‘But there’s the Dan Butler who flies down the line, gets crosses in and defends well.

‘His confidence took a knock but that is what Dan Butler does best.

‘He had a bit of second-season syndrome, but that happens.

‘But he went out to Aldershot and now he’s back in the squad and we’ll see how he goes this season.’

Awford is in no doubt Butler’s time spent with Aldershot was beneficial for him.

He made 13 appearances with the Shots in a spell punctuated by a knee injury.

‘There are some lads who cope with loans and others who don’t,’ said Awford.

‘You have to be careful about which clubs you send them to and at which times.

‘It’s not all about what happens on the pitch. There’s a lot of psychological stuff which goes on.

‘You have to pick the right people to go at the right time, otherwise it can affect them long term.

‘He had a good experience at Aldershot. He was clearly not in the picture here last season, so it was better for him to go out and play.

‘But he’s back and pushing for a place in the team.’