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AWFORD: NOTHING CHANGES

6 February 2015

Boss not underestimating Hartlepool

Pompey are coming off a run of five successive matches against sides in League Two’s top six.

Next up is a home clash with a Hartlepool side lying rock bottom of the fourth tier and seven points adrift of safety.

But Andy Awford is adamant that his side will not treat the north-east strugglers any differently.

And he is confident that they can build on last week’s draw at the then leaders Wycombe.

The Blues boss said: “We go from facing the side at the top of the league to the one propping it up.

“But nothing changes in terms of our mentality because there are no easy games.

“There hasn’t been a big sigh of relief now that batch of games is out of the way.

“We’ve approached the last five games in the same way and had some good performances – although admittedly not enough points – and we’ll remain professional going forward.

“We need to reignite the season and the only way to do that is by picking up three points on Saturday.

“I want us to play as well as we did in the first half at Wycombe and defend as well as we did in the second half. That should win us matches.”

Pompey have only netted twice in four matches since the turn of the year, but Awford believes there is plenty of firepower in the ranks.

He said: “If we keep creating chances then with the players we’ve got in our team, we’ll start taking them.

“Jed Wallace has scored 12 this season and Matt Tubbs has 15, while Ryan Taylor and Craig Westcarr will chip in as well.

“I think we’ve got enough goalscorers in the squad and we haven’t conceded many of late either. Games have been tight.”

Despite Hartlepool’s lowly league position, they have been beaten just once in their last four matches.

Awford said: “They beat Plymouth at the weekend and have come into some good form, so they’ll be dangerous.

“But it’s not about them – it’s about us. If we play to the level we’re capable of then I’m confident we’ll win.”

Pompey have no new injury concerns ahead of the weekend, while Wes Fogden (knee) will make his comeback in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Woking on Monday.

Pompey are odds-on favourites with Sky Bet to beat Hartlepool. Bet at www.skybet.com/pompey to increase the Blues’ chances of claiming £250,000 from the Sky Bet Transfer Fund.

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