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Awford To Stick With Academy

1 May 2013

Former Blues defender goes back to managing youth set-up

Andy Awford has decided to remain as Pompey’s academy manager.

The former Blues defender – who made 361 appearances for the club – spent the final six months of the 2012/13 campaign assisting Guy Whittingham with the first team.

But Awford will revert to his role as academy manager and oversee the promising youngsters in Pompey’s youth set-up.

He said: “It was a really tough decision, but a lot of hard work has gone into the academy over the last two-and-a-half years and that’s not something I want to give up.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved and I want to see the job through. The academy staff deserve enormous credit for their fantastic work over the past couple of seasons.

“I understand that some of the young lads have played out of necessity this year. However, they’ve not let anyone down and have surpassed our expectations. From an academy point of view, it’s been a very successful season.

“I’ve loved working with the first team and it was a big learning curve for me to deal with seasoned professionals.

“It was an exciting venture and one I enjoyed thoroughly – especially towards the end of the season when we were more settled.

“But now there’s an opportunity to rebuild this football club and I feel proud and privileged to be a part of that.

“With Guy in charge of the first team and me running the academy, we can work together and grow at the same pace.

“The mistake in the past was that we had a top first team, but with nothing underneath.

“The first team will always be the priority – that’s how football is and I agree totally with that. But we’ve got an opportunity to build this club up bit by bit and the academy is a major part of that.

“I felt that, at this point, I was better suited to run the academy as we try to continue producing players. We’ll keep striving to provide good young players that Guy can use in the first team.

“The decision has been made and it’s a weight off my mind. Now I’m looking forward to working with the new batch of players coming through.”

Blues boss Whittingham said: “I would like to thank Andy for all of his hard work and support.

“I totally understand and respect his decision – he has put a lot of effort into the academy here.

“It’s important for this football club that Andy and all of the academy staff know what is needed to produce players for the first team.”

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