Boss looks ahead to Carlisle clash
The Blues faced a side desperate for points to continue their promotion charge last week.
And their next opponents also have plenty to play for, albeit at the opposite end of the table.
Pompey make the mammoth trip north to face a Carlisle side sitting just two places and three points above the League Two drop zone on Good Friday.
So Andy Awford hopes they can increase the pressure on the Cumbrians and end their own three-match winless run.
The Blues boss said: “They’re scrapping at the wrong end of the table, so we know it’s going to be a tough place to go.
“Anybody can beat anybody in this league. Hartlepool have proven that with a great run to drag themselves out of the relegation zone.
“Shrewsbury came down here last week and played with a lot of confidence because of their consistency.
“There’s pressure at both ends of the table, but Carlisle have lost three of the last five at home and that’s something we’ve got to look to take advantage of.
“But what they do is up to them – on Friday my focus is on us and how we perform.
“I’m sure everybody would agree that we haven’t been good enough in the last two games and we have to put in a better performance.”
Teenage striker Conor Chaplin made his fifth senior appearance of the season when he came off the bench against Shrewsbury last week.
But Awford will not throw any more youngsters into the mix until he believes they are ready to make the step up.
He said: “I’ve never picked players because they’re young – I’ve picked them because I think they’re good enough.
“That won’t change. If they’re up the challenge then they’ll get an opportunity and if they’re not, they won’t.”
Josh Passley is available for selection at Carlisle after being dropped for turning up late last Saturday.
Awford said: “He’s been disciplined internally. We dealt with the situation and he’s apologised to the group, so we draw a line under the situation and move on.”
Paul McCallum injured his ankle in the reserve defeat at Luton on Tuesday and joins Andy Barcham, Danny East, Michael Poke, Paul Robinson and Jack Whatmough on the sidelines.
Pompey are 7/5 favourites to win at Carlisle. Bet at www.skybet.com/pompey to help us claim £250,000 from the Sky Bet Transfer Fund.