Andy Awford admits he is open to the prospect of becoming the next Pompey manager.
The caretaker boss insists he will not be among the growing contingent of applicants for the job, which is now believed to stand at more than 100.
But the 41-year-old also knows he has an opportunity to make an impression in the role – especially if he can lead the Blues to a much-needed League Two victory at Hartlepool tomorrow.
Awford said: ‘I haven’t applied and I haven’t ruled myself out.
‘The club know where I am, they know me and what I’m about. They know what I do and what I don’t do.
‘So if they would like to talk to me about the job, I’m sure they will and then I would consider it.
‘I would make any decision based on speaking to them.
‘If they think I’m the best man to have a go at doing it, I’m not saying I would take it, but I would certainly consider it – I would be stupid not to do that.
‘But I also know how it works. If we win the next two games 6-0, then it would obviously make my position a bit stronger.
‘If we lose the next two games 6-0, then I probably wouldn’t get a call.
‘It was a proud moment for me to manage this club but it was the wrong circumstances.
‘A good friend had lost his job and I didn’t want to be the manager of the club in those circumstances. But I was asked to do it and I did it to the best of my ability.’
The former Blues skipper has already started attempting to put his own stamp on the team’s fortunes, with some intensive work on the training ground to try to shore up the defence.
But Awford knows he needs the players to show they can cope when they are put under pressure in a game.
He said: ‘It’s a mental thing. They are physically fit enough. It’s down to having that mental strength when the going gets tough.
‘Where are the leaders?
‘Unfortunately, that is either in you or it’s not.
‘There are enough here, I think. People like Johnny Ertl and Joe Devera. They are not all vocal but they will lead in the right way.
‘But it’s something we’ve got to address.
‘So I put them in horrible situations in training. You can never totally recreate what goes on in a game but you try to do that.
‘We tried to make things chaotic at times, overload them with things and stress them so that they have to stand up to that.
‘When it’s all nice, everything is settled and it’s all going okay, then it’s easy.
‘When things happen, you have to react to that.
‘And that’s the bit that I don’t think we do well enough.
‘We have to stand firm, stay tight, grab each other, look after our team-mates, concentrate and focus.
‘If we do that, we’ll be fine but it won’t happen overnight.’