Former keeper believes Pompey are still in safe hands

Aldershot goalkeeper Phil Smith   Picture: Joe Pepler
Aldershot goalkeeper Phil Smith Picture: Joe Pepler

Phil Smith backed Andy Awford to put in the graft to turn around Pompey’s fortunes.

Awford finds himself under increasing pressure after last night’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Smith’s Aldershot Town.

The keeper produced a sound display to help his side to a deserved 1-0 win at the Recreation Ground.

Smith spent 18 months at Fratton Park and worked under Awford before leaving at the end of last season.

He admitted there was sympathy at his and Pompey’s plight and his old manager will be feeling the pain more than most.

Smith said: ‘Awfs doesn’t need words of support from me.

‘But of course there is sympathy for him.

‘He’s a nice bloke and he is Portsmouth through and through.

‘He is desperate for the club to do well, as are all the players.

‘It’s probably harder for him to see than most that it’s not going as well as it should.

‘It’s harder for him to take but I know Awfs and he will put in the work that is needed to sort things out.

‘He will get the players doing what he wants them to do and hopefully he turns it around.’

Aldershot last night became the first non-league club to defeat Pompey in the FA Cup – six years on from the Blues winning the competition.

Smith feels it’s a landmark moment for a side who have faced their own struggles.

He said: ‘It’s massive to be a part of this.

‘It’s a big thing for this town and to be a part of it is a great thing.

‘The directors and fans around the place are delighted and it’s something special for them.

‘Everyone is happy and I am a part of that.

‘It’s unfortunate that this moment is also a bad one for Portsmouth.

‘But it’s a dog-eat-dog 
world and they wouldn’t think anything of doing it to me!

‘They have been to the top not long ago and it’s hard for some people to see this.

‘But they are still going and are still here.

‘Who’s to say those days won’t come back for Portsmouth again?’

– JORDAN CROSS