Caretaker boss confident he can lead Pompey to safety
Andy Awford admits that taking charge of Pompey is the greatest test of his football career.
But the caretaker Blues boss is adamant that relegation from the Football League will be avoided.
The academy manager stepped into the hot-seat for the second time this season following Richie Barker’s departure on Thursday morning.
He takes over a side sitting just one place and two points above the League Two drop zone following a run of three successive defeats.
And after helping Pompey avoid the drop as a player in both 1996 and 1998, Awford believes he can lead the side to safety.
He said: “It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever had, but it didn’t take me long to say yes because I do believe we’ll stay up.
“I’ve played in two final day relegation battles at Bradford and Huddersfield. I knew both times that we would survive and I know we will this time.
“I’ve told the players that. I looked them in the whites of the eyes and I think we’ll be okay.
“That’s all we’re focusing on at the moment – seven games in the next five weeks.
“There’s no point planning for next season because we’ve got to sort now out.
“People know what this place means to me – I’ve had an affinity with this club for 25 years.
“But I can’t do this on my own and we all need to be united – players, staff, supporters. Everyone’s got a part to play.
“The whole city needs to get behind us to make sure that we can stay in the Football League.”
Awford’s first test is a trip to face a Newport side who have collected four points from their last two games.
He said: “I watched three DVDs at home last night and our analysis team – who do a great job – have highlighted some things.
“We’ve played them twice before this season so our squad know how they play.
“The pitch down there is atrocious because of all the bad weather they’ve had in that area and it doesn’t allow you to play too much football.
“It’ll be horses for courses, but we’ll go there and do our best to get a positive result.”
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