Andy Awford believes Pompey need to start repaying the fans after being thrust into caretaker charge for tonight’s clash with Southend.
The Academy boss revealed his shock at receiving the phonecall yesterday asking him to take charge of first-team affairs after his close friend Guy Whittingham had been sacked.
While the 41-year-old was disappointed to hear the news, he now wants Pompey’s players to get the fans behind them in search of a vital win in League Two.
Awford said: ‘There are going to be 12,000-16,000 fans in the ground and we’ve got to go out there and do our best for them.
‘I can’t change what’s happened – I wish I could.
‘But we’ve got to get on with it.
‘The fans know me quite well and I know them.
‘And the team will need their backing. We need Fratton Park rocking.
‘We’ve always relied on the fans to get the team going and they always deliver.
‘It’s about time it was the other way around.’
The former skipper assisted Whittingham last season but returned to his role as Academy manager during the summer.
And Awford admitted it is a difficult situation being asked to take over from his old team-mate.
He said: ‘I was pretty shocked when I got the call. But nothing surprises me in football any more.
‘I’m a good friend of Guy’s and that will always remain, no matter what.
‘That’s the difficulty of the situation. But I managed to see him for 10 minutes face-to-face. At the end we shook hands and that was that.’
Asked if he would be interested in the job, Awford replied: ‘The board have asked me to prepare the team and we’ll take it game by game. I’m just concentrating on this game.’