Soaring confidence the secret of Awford success

Pompey goal-hero Michael Drennan celebrates. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey goal-hero Michael Drennan celebrates. Picture: Joe Pepler

It began in the setting of Rodney Parade – lighting the touch paper for the soaring confidence Andy Awford credits for Pompey’s startling transformation.

Saturday’s comprehensive 4-1 destruction of Dagenham & Redbridge reflected one of the Blues’ best performances of the season.

Michael Drennan grabbed two with Danny Hollands and Jed Wallace also netting in a third successive victory for Awford’s side.

A far cry from the wilting team which had not won in six matches before the caretaker boss was placed in charge after Richie Barker exited.

Since then Pompey have deservedly won all three of their games, scoring seven goals in the process to climb the League Two table to settle in 16th spot.

And for Awford, the incredible resurgence can be traced back to that 2-1 victory over Newport County.

He said: ‘Confidence was low, we were on a bit of a barren run, we were a little bit close to that trapdoor.

‘Then the win at Newport, for me, was massive, it has given us that base to build on and thankfully we have managed to do that.

‘We are getting loads of chances, energy, drive, enthusiasm, passion, pride, all of those things that I insist they do and, I am repeating myself, when you put the fans and performance together it is brilliant, it makes me tingle, I absolutely love it.

‘The players have got a belief now, I really think that, they have got that inner belief as a group.

‘It’s unbelievable the change around in their confidence just from the Newport win, we saw it in training the week before Hartlepool, we saw it in training again this week and then we have seen a performance like that on Saturday and they were absolutely terrific.

‘Every single game since I came in we have deserved to win, no doubt about that. I don’t mean that disrespectfully to the opposition, but we have deserved to win in my opinion and we are delighted with that.

‘The players have got good ability, without a shadow of a doubt, there are some good footballers in that dressing room, it’s getting the best out of them, that’s the job of me, Paul (Hardyman), Macca (Alan McLoughlin) and the staff.

‘I thought I got the best out of them against Hartlepool, but there is still a bit more in the locker it seems.

‘But we will prepare for Bristol Rovers properly, bring everyone down to earth and then go again.’

Similar to the Hartlepool, it was another blistering start which sent Pompey on their way to the latest victory.

A crucial early foothold to ensure they dominated.

Awford added: ‘That start is important, it could have been three or four within 20 minutes really.

‘They pulled one back and then hit the bar and then the post, but apart from that Trevor (Carson) has not really had anything to do.

‘We controlled the game, we had the scare just before half-time but thankfully got the third and killed them off.

‘The performance was very, very good. The challenge is now to maintain that, can we go even higher.’