Awfs points to Pompey’s new mentality

Izale McLeod earned Pompey a point at Coventry with a last-gasp leveller
Izale McLeod earned Pompey a point at Coventry with a last-gasp leveller

Andy Awford believes Pompey’s new mental toughness will prepare them for their relegation scrap.

The Blues caretaker assistant manager has noticed a big improvement in responding to setbacks in recent weeks.

That was summed up by Izale McLeod’s stoppage-time equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Coventry on November 24.

Now Awford wants to see more of the same as Pompey face a make-or-break run of games in their attempt to drag themselves out of League One relegation trouble.

Awford said: ‘If you look back at our first game in charge at Bury, we went a goal down and we never looked like getting back into the game after that.

‘You could see we were done.

‘But the thing that really pleased me was how we stayed in the game at Coventry.

‘There was a stronger mentality about us and we will definitely need that going forward.

‘Yes, our keeper (Alex Cisak) did really well and kept us in the game in the first half. But then I thought we deserved the equaliser in the second half with the way we played.

‘It felt like a win afterwards and I hope that gives us a little lift and will kick us on for this run of games we have coming up.’

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham and Awford have been looking for more spirit within the ranks since they took over from Michael Appleton last month.

Awford said: ‘We’re creating a spirit and the right environment and the players have responded brilliantly to myself and Guy.

‘If we can get on a little run, who knows what we can do?’