Portsmouth boss looking forward to Oxford United return

Andy Awford (left) shares a joke with Jim Smith in 2006

Andy Awford (left) shares a joke with Jim Smith in 2006

First published in United News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

THERE will be familiar faces all round in the technical areas at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow.

While Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton comes up against his former side, it will also be a reunion for opposite number Andy Awford.

The Portsmouth boss was brought into the U’s in 2006 by Jim Smith as a first-team coach.

He said: “I had a year at Oxford with Jim Smith and I really enjoyed it.

“It’s a nice club with good support and they get behind their team.

“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing some old faces, but obviously we are trying to put one over on them.”

Awford is yet to taste defeat in 11 games as a manager, after being promoted from the coaching ranks at Fratton Park in March.

Wins in his first five games steered Portsmouth clear of the relegation battle.

A 2-0 home win over Northampton on Tuesday night gives them a haul of seven points from the opening three games of this season, which has seen them installed as title favourites.

Awford, who worked under Appleton during the latter’s tenure in charge at Portsmouth, is wary of their hosts tomorrow.

He said: “They’ve not had a great start, but it’s early in the season.

“I obviously know Michael really well, but they have got a new management team that has gone in and new players, so it will take time to gel.

“Oxford is a big club, but they are all tough. I thought the game against Northampton was going to be hard and I was right.

“We had to be at it from the first whistle to the last and we will need to show that level of performance again.”

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