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Awford: Mental Strength Needed

29 November 2013

Caretaker boss looking to turn form around

Much has been made about the quality in Pompey’s squad this season.

It was evident recently when the Blues went six matches unbeaten, but something has gone awry since.

A run of five successive defeats has left them nearer the League Two drop zone than the play-off positions ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hartlepool.

And Andy Awford believes the squad will have to use their minds as well their bodies in order to turn things around.

The caretaker Blues boss said: “The players are physically fit enough. It’s down to having that mental strength when the going gets tough.

“You need leaders and that’s something that’s either in you or it’s not.

“I think there are enough of them here, with players like Johnny Ertl and Joe Devera. They’re not all vocal, but lead in the right way.

“I put them in some horrible positions in training. You can’t totally recreate what happens in a game, but you can try.

“We tried to make things a bit chaotic and overload them to see how they would stand up to that.

“Now we have to stand firm and work together as a unit, while keeping our concentration.”

Awford took control of the side for the first time against Southend on Tuesday night following the dismissal of Guy Whittingham the previous day.

He said: “It was a proud moment for me to lead this club, even though it was in difficult circumstances.

“I was asked to take on a role and I did that to the best of my ability.”

Pompey are 21/10 to beat Hartlepool with Sky Bet. Open an account at and deposit before the end of November to earn the club £10.

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