Awford: Shots trip can ease away woes

Andy Awford looks downbeat after Pompey's defeat at Plymouth Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford looks downbeat after Pompey's defeat at Plymouth Picture: Joe Pepler

The away-day agony continues but Andy Awford is convinced relief is on hand – the FA Cup.

Pompey’s dismal 3-0 League Two defeat at Plymouth on Saturday means they have won just one of nine league fixtures on their travels this season.

In the process they have scored three goals – the worst record outside of the Premier League.

Incidentally, no Football League team have picked up fewer away points than Gillingham – yet even they have scored more goals than Pompey, with five in total.

Now comes another match away from Fratton Park, this time at Aldershot in tomorrow’s FA Cup replay.

But Awford believes the Recreation Ground offers a different travelling scenario.

He said: ‘We are very good at home and poor away, that’s the blatant truth isn’t it, there is no dressing it up.

‘Our home form is promotion form and our away form is relegation form and that tells you we are going to finish mid-table because one is cancelling the other out.

‘We have got to improve on the road and make sure we get a lot more points – and the only way we are going to do that is by working as hard as we possibly can.

‘We are doing that anyway, but we have got to keep going, keep nudging away at it and keep believing.

‘Tomorrow is a cup tie, it has a different feel to it.

‘There is a result on the night which puts you through to the next round of the FA Cup with a home draw, which is a massive incentive for us.

‘It will be a tough game. As we saw, Aldershot are a good side who caused us problems at Fratton Park – especially in the second half when they got a sniff of confidence from their first-half goal.

‘We are away from home, there is no hiding from that. But I think, because it is a cup tie, it is local and it is a derby, there is a flavour that we can use to our advantage, definitely.

‘All we will do is approach the game properly, prepare as well as we can and as professionally as we can, and I have some thinking to do about team selection.’

In August, Pompey lost at Premier League Stoke in the Capital One Cup to a 3-0 scoreline.

Although they did win 3-1 at League One side Yeovil in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in September.

In the meantime, Awford admitted the away league failings had influenced his formation shift at Home Park.

He added: ‘We have played 4-4-2 since the Bury game, but on Saturday felt 4-1-4-1 was the best way to go.

‘The away record comes into the thinking.

‘If we were top of the league, five points clear and the away form was played nine, won five or whatever, then you might be going “Go on then, just go with it”.

‘But against Plymouth we wanted it to be a lot tighter than it was for longer periods.

‘Unfortunately, the start to the game has put that game plan to bed and then you change it second half after 15 minutes to go to Plan B and we still didn’t do enough in the final third.

‘We now have to make sure we are ready for that tomorrow.’