US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice planning to bring in two new coaches after showing ‘relegation form’ in last few months of Wessex League season

US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice is looking to bring in two new coaches to bolster his backroom staff.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 12:32 pm

Grice is now without a first team coach following the resignation of Steve Weston last week.

At present, there is just himself and assistant manager Tom Jeffes, and the latter is very much still a major part of the playing squad.

‘We haven’t got a huge amount of backroom staff,’ said Grice after USP’s debut Wessex League Premier Division campaign ended on a losing note at Bournemouth Poppies.

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US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice, left, plans to bring in two coaches following the departure of Steve Weston, right. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘There’s only been the three of us and if anyone is away, and over a 40-game (league) season that’s going to happen, it’s going to have a major impact.

‘On occasions if Steve’s not been there and TJ’s been playing, it’s been left to me to do everything.

‘You don’t want to end up resenting doing it, so the plan is to bring in two coaches.

‘There’s no hard feelings with Steve at all, and he’s given us decent time to get new people in.

‘It is what it is, that’s football. Some people can go on year after year and some people can dip in and out (of being involved), and that’s what Steve has done.’

USP’s 3-1 loss at Poppies saw them finish fifth bottom of their maiden campaign at step 5 level.

Luke Slade’s first half goal - which had made it 1-1 - was only the club’s second in eight games. Since beating Hythe & Dibden at the end of January, USP took just three points - all draws - from their final 11 fixtures.

In the final reckoning, USP were only five points ahead of second-bottom Hythe.

‘I just felt they (Poppies) wanted it more, simple as that,’ said Grice.

‘They were first to every ball. If I said we could have won I would be blatantly lying.

‘Since the end of January, we’ve shown relegation form. If the season had gone on any longer we would have been in trouble.

‘What’s become extremely apparent is the average age of the team is very young. Take out TJ and Simon Woods - neither of whom played on Saturday - and the average age is between 20 and 21.

‘Luke Slade was our oldest player (against Poppies) and he’s 29/30.’

As a result of being such a young side, Grice feels communication levels during a game are affected.

‘We can be a quiet team, we’re very vocal. If you’re a confident player you communicate freely,’ he remarked.