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AWFORD: A TOUGH MONTH

22 January 2015

Boss looks ahead to Southend clash

Another week brings Pompey another one of the League Two pacesetters.

Luton, Newport and Burton have been the last three opponents for Andy Awford’s troops.

Like Saturday’s visitors Southend, they all sit comfortably in the division’s top six – and there is a trip to leaders Wycombe to come seven days later.

But Awford has seen a gradual improvement from his team and is hopeful of success against the Shrimpers.

The Blues boss said: “They’re all difficult games whether they’re at the top or the bottom of the table – there are no ‘gimmes’ in this league.

“But we knew that January was going to be a particularly tough month with the sides we were facing.

“The performance levels have been good, however, and if we can maintain that – or even inch them higher – then hopefully that result will come.

“We’ve been working hard out on the training ground and I think everyone’s seen an improvement in the last few games.

“We lacked a bit of cutting edge at Newport, but then last Saturday I thought we had that for long periods, especially in the first half.

“We’ve gone toe-to-toe with three sides at the top of the league, so we need to do the same this weekend.

“We weren’t good enough when we went up to Southend earlier in the season, but there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

“They’ve managed to kick-start their season and now we need to do the same and find some consistency.”

James Dunne is in contention to make a second successive start against Southend having returned from a long spell on the sidelines against Burton.

Awford said: “He was out injured for quite a while, so to come back in and perform how he did was great.

“But I think we all knew what we were going to get from him – it didn’t come as a big surprise.”

Pompey are 15/8 with Sky Bet to beat Southend. Open an account at www.skybet.com/pompey to help the Blues win £250,000 from the Sky Bet Transfer Fund.

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