Awford challenges Pompey to keep on building

Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has challenged reformed Pompey to build on their encouraging recent displays and defeat Carlisle.

The Blues have turned in improved performances against Stevenage and Shrewsbury following their Gigg Lane low a fortnight ago – a 3-0 defeat at Bury.

That has coincided with the scrapping of the wing-back system and restoring width to the team.

There may have been a Greenhous Meadow defeat last weekend following victory over Stevenage, but Awford remained pleased with how his side fared.

And ahead of tomorrow’s visit by the Cumbrians, he has praised the ‘upsurge’ in player performances.

‘Since the Bury game there has definitely been an upsurge in performance levels, I have been pleased with the attitudes and displays,’ said Awford.

‘It has been a response from everybody as a group. We have changed certain things, we have changed the system and you can say it is partly down to that.

‘It may also be partly down to my outlook and approach to it, the players themselves, training has maybe stepped up in intensity or maybe it has dropped off. Whatever we have done, things have certainly improved.

‘And we are looking to improve again – we have got to build on the last two performances and make sure we get three points tomorrow.

‘At Shrewsbury there was nothing in that game – two teams toe-to-toe having a right go and then the fluke goal comes and that is the way it is.

‘We have just got to make sure we get back on track points-wise, the same performance level – and if we do I am comfortable and confident that we will beat Carlisle.

‘Looking at us, the threat in front of goal has been back as a team, we have scored four goals in two games.

‘That night against Stevenage we could have had five or six in all honesty.

‘The solidity of the team has still been good despite changing the system. We have not been open, not been easy to break through.

‘Paul Jones has had to make saves – of course he has like every goalkeeper – but he has not been overworked in the last two games so the solidity has still been there.

‘But we have looked more of a threat in the attacking third and that has really pleased me.’

Regardless of the last two displays, Pompey find themselves in 14th spot.

And Awford acknowledged his side definitely still needs to raise their performances.

He added: ‘We have still got to do better, I am not saying the last two matches is enough.

‘We have got to do more, got to score more and create more – but there’s a base to build on.

‘We have to build on the three goals against Stevenage, build on the attacking play last week and the solidity that we have, and go again tomorrow in front of the roaring crowd.’