Awford: We need to think of ourselves

Pompey celebrate Wes Fogden's winner. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Wes Fogden's winner. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough, centre, was gaffer for a day Josh Sweetmans Pompey man of the match from Saturdays draw against Walsall

Pompey 1 Walsall 1: Gaffer for a day

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Andy Awford prepared to send Northampton to brink of relegation but admitted: I hope they stay up.

Pompey go to Sixfields today looking to secure their place in League Two once and for all this season.

A win would send Chris Wilder’s side a massive step closer to falling out of the Football League.

They remain in the bottom two on goal difference as Bristol Rovers entertain high-flying Rochdale.

Awford’s side know they need a point to confirm their spot in the league next season.

Defeat for either Rovers or Wycombe would be enough to do the job for the Blues, too.

A win over The Gas on Saturday pushed them deep into trouble.

They were supported by 2,300 fans at Fratton Park, who made themselves heard.

Awford is expecting another great atmosphere today.

He stated he wouldn’t like to see either Northampton or Rovers go down.

But he knows his team have to stay focused on what they need to do.

Awford said: ‘Chris Wilder was mooted for the job here at one point before Richie Barker took over.

‘They are an organised side. They will be organised and ready to go.

‘They are fighting for their lives.

‘But we aren’t safe yet mathematically.

‘So we need to get what we need to get.

‘So we are looking to go there and be positive.

‘I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere again.

‘They are a big club, like Bristol Rovers.

‘It’s sad that them or Northampton could go. I hope neither of them do.’

Awford will be flush with options going into today’s game.

He made two changes to his team on Saturday as the injured Simon Ferry and Dan Alfei dropped out for Adam Webster and Rhys McCabe.

Alfei was on the bench along with Phil Smith, Joe Devera, Sonny Bradley, Johnny Ertl, Patrick Agyemang and the fit-again Wes Fogden.

That meant the likes of Thery Racon, Jake Jervis and Ben Chorley missed out on the squad all together.

They went through their paces in a session at Fratton Park after Saturday’s game and trained yesterday.

Awford knows he has good options at his disposal and will think about freshening his team up with two games in 48 hours.

Awford said: ‘It’s great to have those players to work with.

‘Do we keep the same players, or do we freshen things up?

‘We’ll have a good chat about that as a staff.

‘They were all in training yesterday and we go to Northampton ready to rock and roll again.’

Northampton have shown largely-improving form since Chris Wilder went into the manager’s role in January and succeeded Aidy Boothroyd.

Despite their lowly position, they have lost just two of their past 13 games to give them hope of survival.

That has included two wins on the bounce before they drew at relegation rivals Wycombe on Friday.

Awford was at that game, as the Chairboys had the better of it and had a goal disallowed.

The Pompey boss explained that proved a tense affair, with it likely to be a similar story for the home side today.

Awford’s philosophy has been to concentrate on what his team are capable of achieving, as he brings a positivity into the dressing room.

And he insisted he will keep the focus on being upbeat to get the result Pompey need to celebrate survival.

Awford said; ‘I went to watch Northampton against Wycombe.

‘It was a tense game. I missed the disallowed goal.

‘But with two teams down there scrapping for their lives it was tense.

‘I know what they are about but we need to do what we do and be positive.

‘And if we do what we do we will get a result.’