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AWFORD TARGETS TOP HALF

24 April 2014

Boss wants Blues to keep up momentum

A few weeks ago Pompey were getting geared up for a relegation scrap.

But now the Blues are targeting a top-half finish to end a difficult season on a high.

Saturday’s trip to Bury is followed by a Fratton Park clash with Plymouth on the final day of the 2013/14 campaign.

And Andy Awford does not want to see his side take it easy now that League Two safety has been secured.

The caretaker Blues boss said: “We’re safe and the pressure’s off in that sense, but they still have to play for this football club.

“They still have to challenge themselves and each other to ensure that the season doesn’t peter out. It’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen – and it won’t.

“There’s confidence and belief in the dressing room that they will win matches.

“It’s been massive for us that the lads are now playing with spirit and togetherness.

“When I came in the target was just to finish above two other sides, but now it’s to finish as high as we possibly can in the table.”

Bury have lost just one of their last eight games, but are only above Pompey on goal difference.

Awford said: “I’ve been up there to watch them play and get a flavour of what they’re all about.

“Daniel Nardiello was sent off in their last game so he won’t be available, while Danny Rose has been recalled by Barnsley.

“But they have been on a great run in recent weeks and it looked at one stage like they might sneak into the play-offs.

“Fair play to David Flitcroft and his team because they’ve done a great job and it’s going to be a tough test.

“But we want to continue our run. It’ll be a hard game, but it’s a winnable one and I’m sure the fans will see us over the line.”

Pompey have no new injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game, but Andy Barcham (thigh) and Ryan Bird (groin) are still sidelined, while Rhys McCabe has been recalled by Sheffield Wednesday.

However, goalkeeper Trevor Carson is eligible to feature against his parent club at the JD Stadium.

The Blues are 12/5 with Sky Bet to win at Bury. Open an account at www.skybet.com/pompey for great offers and to earn money for the club.

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