Trevor Carson is convinced Andy Awford’s Gigg Lane performance has further emphasised his Pompey manager credentials.
Awford marked his final match as caretaker boss with a stunning Blues fightback to clinch an improbable 4-4 draw at Bury on Saturday.
The 41-year-old will now be appointed manager on a permanent basis following his hugely-impressive six matches in charge since Richie Barker’s departure.
Pompey found themselves 3-0 down after 49 minutes against the Shakers before pulling it back to 3-2.
When Hallam Hope completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute, the fixture appeared settled at 4-2.
But two goals in the final three minutes – the leveller from Wes Fogden – secured a dramatic 4-4 to send the 1,498 visiting fans wild.
And Carson was full of praise for the role played by Awford.
He said: ‘Awfs brought on Sonny up front, he caused havoc and you have to take your hat off to him for that.
‘After the game, he was going round saying well done to everyone but a few of us piped up and said well done to him because he made that tactical sub and we have nicked a point.
‘It says a lot about Awfs at half-time when we were 2-0 down and he could easily have come in and given a few rollickings out – but he didn’t.
‘He told us about all the good work we had done over the last five games, he made you want to go and fight for him again. I was the only one getting a bit wound up.
‘Bury’s my old club and I felt we were getting a runaround to be honest.
‘Awfs does have a temper but he came in, was calm, told us what we were doing wrong, what we were doing right.
‘He took Johnny (Ertl) off and I have seen previous managers say “right, you’re off” but he explained to Johnny why he was making the sub to help the team.’
Carson was given extra desire to do well against the club who have loaned him to Pompey for the majority of the campaign.
And he admitted the red mist which descended when the Shakers made it 4-2 was so thick he actually missed Pompey’s third goal.
He added: ‘Honestly, my head went down a bit, I’m the worst loser ever.
‘I was cursing myself and then the fans were cheering and I was thinking “is there a corner?!”.
‘It was a surreal game to say the least.
‘In the first half they were good and we were really, really bad and wide open.
‘I hate to say it – and it’s not the attitude we have in the team – but you thought a few of the lads were on the beach.
‘You saw, though, in the second half we rolled our sleeves up.
‘We have given our all and ground out a decent result in the end.
‘But nothing happened in the game apart from the goals, it was just incredible.’