Awfs fires relegation warning to rivals

ANDY AWFORD believes anyone in the bottom half of League Two could still drop out of the Football League.

Awford has delivered his assessment of the congested relegation dogfight as Pompey bid to pull themselves further clear of danger at Dagenham & Redbridge.

Pompey caretaker boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey caretaker boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues go looking for their third win on the bounce for the first time since 2011 in east London tomorrow.

Awford knows another success will further ease tension and take his side – who are 19th on 48 points – beyond the 50-point barrier often associated with survival in League Two.

But the caretaker boss isn’t sure hitting that landmark is going to guarantee staying up.

Awford has weighed up the table and is sure the 10 teams currently below that mark are all in danger.

And he warned sides struggling for form, like Hartlepool, Newport and Morecambe, it’s all about impetus as the campaign reaches fever pitch.

That means a lack of momentum could still see a host of teams above Pompey dragged into a grim battle for survival.

Awford said: ‘The results going how they did last weekend, with us, Wycombe and Northampton winning, diluted it.

‘There’s a pack of nine or 10 teams, at least, which has been squeezed again.

‘If you are below 50 points at the minute you are in it.

‘You need that one or two more points. Three points maybe.

‘I would say, with the results last weekend, there are a few teams looking over their shoulders.

‘We have spoken about momentum. Northampton have a bit of momentum, Wycombe have won a few and we’ve just won.

‘I don’t think anyone in the bottom half of the league is safe at the moment. It’s that tight.

‘Barnet had 51 points last year and went on goal difference. But I don’t know how many points it will take – because I don’t know what the other teams are going to do!

‘They say the magic mark is 50, but I’m not going to set a 50-point target, get there and it’s not enough.’

With five games to go, Awford is still expecting a few twists and turns yet in the relegation war.

He underlined his conviction it’s not about focusing on what Pompey’s rivals are doing over the final five games.

Awford said: ‘It changes week to week.

‘We came off after Newport and a couple had lost and it was great. Saturday, we won and then saw the other results and it was a case of: “oh, okay”.

‘But that’s why we have to do what we need to do.

‘That’s why that is the main thing. If it’s last-day drama and we stay up on goal difference, I’ll take it.

‘But if it’s done with two or three games to go then great.

‘All we can do it worry about ourselves, and, if we get our results, it won’t matter about the others.’