POMPEY must start picking points up on the road if they are to harbour any hopes of promotion.
That’s the honest assessment of boss Andy Awford, who has tasked his side with continuing recent momentum with a result at Hartlepool tomorrow (3pm).
Successive losses at Burton and Southend had threatened to derail the Blues’ promising start to the League Two season.
But a return to Fratton Park brought with it a solid four-point haul as the hosts followed their 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge with a battling 1-1 draw against high-flying Wycombe.
And Awford is now keen for his 11th-placed side to build on a fair travelling record of one win and one draw from their four league games when they visit Victoria Park.
Struggling Hartlepool sit second from bottom after a poor start to the campaign and the Pompey boss is looking to heap further misery on Colin Cooper’s side.
‘It’s a game we need to get points from on the road,’ said Awford.
‘Saying that, we could be playing Man United and we’d still be wanting to get some points.
‘You don’t get into the play-offs or into the top half of the league if you dont pick points up on the road – you are always putting pressure on your home games.
‘The two defeats away at Burton and Southend put pressure on the two home games but the lads came through that and the reaction we got from going behind against Wycombe was very good.
‘I was pleased with the overall reaction and that is something we will be looking to build on at Hartlepool.
‘We want to come away from there with a very positive performance and a victory if possible.’
Awford is facing something of a positive selection headache ahead of tomorrow’s trip to the north east.
The arrival of loanee Michael Drennan from Aston Villa has been boosted by the return to fitness of midfield duo Nigel Atangana (hamstring) and Nick Awford (shoulder).
The latter pair both featured as the Blues’ reserves side drew 2-2 with Luton on Tuesday – although it remains to be seen whether either will be risked.
Striker Ryan Taylor (groin) has also returned to training but will play no part in proceedings.
Awford added: ‘Ryan Taylor has come back in – but it’s a bit too soon to chuck him in.
‘Nick Awford is back now and played 45 minutes in the reserves the other day, like Nigel (Atangana), but do you sling them straight back in?’