Awford calls for Pompey positivity

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Dack opened the scoring for Blackburn Rovers in the 38th minute Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey suffer heavy defeat at Blackburn

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Andy Awford has rallied his Pompey troops to adopt a positive approach at Bury and told them: Let’s take the fight to them.

The Blues head to Gigg Lane after four straight draws in League Two and are in need of a spark to their season.

After an insipid first hour in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town, the Pompey boss wants to see his side pick up from where they left off after they fought back from a goal down well and nearly stole a victory.

But even though Bury are flying high and tipped by many as promotion contenders, Awford believes there is nothing to fear.

He said: ‘Just because Bury will be viewed as a team that will be up there at the end of the season, I don’t want us to go there and be cautious.

‘I don’t want us to wait – I want us to take the game to them.

‘If we were going to Man United or Arsenal, then you might have to look at how you are set up as a team.

‘But I don’t mean it disrespectfully to anyone – we are playing Bury.

‘There is nothing to fear and nothing to be afraid of.

‘We are Portsmouth Football Club, so we will go and do what we’ve got to do best.

‘In my opinion, that is playing on the front foot.

‘So let’s be positive, play in their half and go and get three points.

‘I don’t want us to have the mentality that we are going to go up there, sit in, defend and try to pick Bury off. That’s not us.

‘That’s the bit I need to impress on the players and I have done that this 
week.’

While it’s now five games without a win for Pompey, including the Trophy loss to Northampton, Awford has been heartended by the response of his players in training this week.

‘The spark was missing last weekend and I’m just hoping we can take the momentum of the last half an hour into tomorrow,’ said Awford.

‘Sometimes when you get flat performances it creeps into training, but that hasn’t happened at all.

‘The players have been positive, energetic and understood why we weren’t happy with the first hour and much happier with the final half an hour.’

Awford also wants to see a different mentality after feeling some players failed to take enough responsibility against Mansfield.

‘For me, the problem was everyone was waiting for each other,’ added Awford.

‘A was thinking B was going to do it and B was thinking C was going to do it. No – you make sure you are the one to do it.

‘That has been the message all week.

‘I want us to be all guns blazing – but I don’t mean it will be like the Charge of the Light Brigade.

‘There is a structure to it. It won’t be leaving two men back with the keeper and then attacking with the other eight.

‘I don’t want us to be sat deep and encouraging them to come at us to then counter on them. I don’t think that will work for us.’