Lowly expectation can help Pompey

Andy Awford
Andy Awford

Andy Awford believes Pompey could benefit from a rare lack of expectation this weekend.

The Blues boss takes his side to table-topping Wycombe Wanderers, with few tipping an away win.

In fact, some supporters have already written off this fixture and turned their sights on the following Saturday, with a home clash against bottom club Hartlepool considered more important.

But Awford insists there is no such mentality among his staff and players.

Awford said: ‘Nobody has written anything off.

‘That won’t get into the camp – there’s no chance of that.

‘What happens outside, I don’t give a monkeys about.

‘The pressure is on them. They are top of the league, they are at home and everybody outside of the M275 will be expecting a home win.

‘It will be nice to be second favourites.

‘We were favourites to beat Burton the other week when they were second and we were 16th.

‘I didn’t quite get that.

‘But that’s the expectation level that comes with Portsmouth and it will always be there.

‘The pressure will be off us a bit more and, if that allows the lads to play with more freedom and confidence, then great.’

Wycombe’s achievements so far this campaign are particularly impressive, considering they survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last term.

Awford added: ‘I think they were one goal away from getting relegated last season, so it’s amazing.

‘Gareth (Ainsworth) would have been under immense pressure to stay in charge if they had got relegated.

‘Thankfully for him, they didn’t. I like him – he’s a really nice fella.

‘I remember him sitting in my office after the game earlier this season and him saying “all I want is to get to 50 points because I can’t go through what we went through last season”.

‘So I texted him a game ago because they got them. They have done great.’

After the events of this week, Awford is well aware he is under pressure to deliver results.

He said: ‘We haven’t been good enough this season. The basic facts are that we haven’t got enough points.

‘With the players we have got, I don’t think we should be 18th in the league.

‘But we are where we are. The table doesn’t lie.

‘We’ve got 20 games to go and 60 points to play for and we need to climb the table.

‘I would take a scruffy performance, like we had at Oxford earlier this season, and take all three points.

‘It’s all about results.’