Awford demands Pompey response

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD told his players to put right their Newport County disappointment tonight.

And the Pompey boss is calling on his men to use the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy trip to Yeovil as a launchpad for another powerful run of form.

The Blues slipped to their first league defeat of the season at Fratton Park on Saturday, as they went down to a 1-0 loss against the Exiles.

That put the brakes on a powerful opening to the season, which has seen Pompey win three and draw one of their first four league games.

Awford’s men have a quick chance to put that loss to bed, as they face the Glovers in the southern section first round tonight.

And he is looking to see his side use the game as a springboard for a decent string of results.

Awford said: ‘Football allows you to put things right really quickly.

‘I’m delighted we’ve got the game to get cracking and give it a real go.

‘It’s how you react now. We need to prepare well and react at Yeovil.

‘We want to see if we can get off on another run.

‘I’ve got no reason to be gloomy with the start we’ve had here, though. We’ve got a club moving forward and everything is bright.

‘But we’ve had a nice start and we need to try to build on it. There’s no reason to be down and out.

‘No one likes losing whether it’s football or tiddlywinks.

‘I don’t think we were too far away, but we got done on a set-piece.

‘It wasn’t our most below-par performance, though.

‘If people thought we were going to stroll it, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

‘If people thought we were going to go unbeaten all season then get yourself to the doctor.

‘But it’s history and we need to look forward now.’

Awford doesn’t believe the weekend defeat has had a lasting effect on his players.

He lifted them in training yesterday ahead of game which arrives in a competition which is the club’s most realistic chance of making a Wembley final.

Awford will weigh up making more changes for the clash at Huish Park.

But Pompey will have to work within rules which insist the team have to include six players who started games either before, or after, the JPT outing.

Alternatively, they can field six out of 11 players who have made the most appearances this season.

Awford said: ‘The spirit was good this morning and we’ve trained well.

‘The competition is there for lower league clubs to get to Wembley. But it’s a chance to look at a few other players.

‘We know we would get beat this season, but, as staff, it’s up to us to lift the players and get spirit high. One win doesn’t mean you are going to get promoted and one defeat isn’t all doom and gloom.’