Awford targets big finish

Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
New Pompey keeper Luke McGee Picture: Joe Pepler

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Andy Awford dismissed suggestions Pompey can release the shackles for the rest of the season.

The Blues boss is still optimistic his side can climb the League Two table over the remaining 11 games of the campaign – starting with today’s home showdown with Luton.

There is something to lose because if I don’t win another game between now and the end of the season, I won’t be sitting here in August

Andy Awford

And if they can beat the Hatters, Pompey then have another chance to put a win on the board on Tuesday when they host Cheltenham Town as they bid to close the gap on the teams above them.

While some have suggested Awford can throw caution to the wind in chasing victories – even if that means increasing the risk of defeat – he insists it is not that straightforward.

And he disagreed that Pompey have nothing to lose.

Awford said: ‘There is something to lose because if I don’t win another game between now and the end of the season, I won’t be sitting here in August.

‘So there is plenty to lose.

‘We have got more than 15,000 people turning up for every home game and a massive away following, so there is always pressure on us to perform.

‘That is the pressure of playing for this club and that is the bonus of playing for this club, in my opinion.’

Pompey were held to a 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley last weekend and it felt like a missed opportunity to pick up a victory after they played most of the second half against 10 men.

But while Awford is prepared to be flexible, he won’t rip up the formula that has led to improvement over the past couple of months.

He said: ‘We will try to win football matches and if that needs to be a different approach, then so be it.

‘As I have always said, if something isn’t working, you try something else instead.

‘We’ve had one defeat in nine so do we need to do too much different?

‘A few of those draws could have been wins but they could have been defeats as well.

‘I’m not going to be too experimental.

‘I don’t think it’s the time of the season to start experimenting with new things.

‘It’s really important we get a good return of points in the last 11 games.’

While some Blues fans have already written off the play-off hopes for the season, Awford clearly hasn’t.

‘I never give up,’ said the Pompey boss.

‘Until it is mathematically impossible, anything is possible.

‘At the moment, we are not happy to be 14th in the table. We want to be higher, of course we do.

‘Every team in the league sets a target of getting in the top three and if you can’t do that, then you want to get in the top seven.

‘That’s the target for every team up and down the country.

‘We are not where we want to be but there are still 11 games of the season to enable us to climb the table.

‘We’ve still got a quarter of the season to go.’