Lawrence offers brutal honesty for Pompey
Former skipper Liam Lawrence returned to Pompey and told them: You’re way off being promotion contenders.
In a trademark honest assessment after his team’s 2-0 cruise at Fratton Park, the 33-year-old midfielder revealed his sadness at seeing his former club struggling in League Two.
Goals either side of half-time from Bobby Grant sealed a deserved three points for Shrewsbury, with Pompey booed off at the final whistle.
Lawrence captained the club after arriving from Stoke in 2010 and reached a compromise settlement to tear up a lucrative contract when Pompey were threatened with liquidation in 2012.
And he believes boss Andy Awford needs several new recruits to improve the side if they are to make a real League Two promotion challenge next season.
Lawrence said: ‘To be brutally honest, I think they are quite a way off challenging.
‘I think they need quite a few better players in. I won’t say what positions or anything stupid but there are decent teams in this league.
‘If they can get a few in, they’ve got the support and the place to do it.
‘If they can keep hold of Jed (Wallace), that will help so they can build around him, and Matt Tubbs will always score goals for you.
‘I hope they do it. I want to see them get back up.
‘I spoke to one of the lads – I won’t say who it is – but I told him “I’m gutted for you that you’re in this situation”.
‘Portsmouth are a Premier League club – they really are.
‘To get this amount of supporters, it’s not a League Two club is it?’
With speculation over Wallace’s future, Lawrence also tried to get a steer from a player he rates highly.
Lawrence said: ‘We had a little chat on the pitch and I tried to get it out of him.
‘I asked him “are you off then?” and he said “I don’t know – we’ll see what happens”.
‘He was in the youth team when I was here and I think he’s a good player.
‘I’m not saying Portsmouth are a bad side, because they are not. But in a better team, I think he would be even more effective.
‘Can he play in the Championship or higher? We will see. But I think he has got the right attributes.’
Shrewsbury were much the better side on the day and look well on course for promotion.
But Lawrence clearly still has a soft spot for Pompey, even doing his bit to avoid a flashpoint as Grant celebrated his second goal in front of the Fratton end.
Lawrence said: ‘He went off on one to the home fans and I tried to get him away quickly.
‘I love the fans here. They are fantastic and they don’t deserve that.
‘I got a good reception from some but there was a few in the corner that were giving me a bit of stick.
‘But after the game, I felt it was my duty to give them a round of applause.’