Comment: Changes are needed for Pompey to challenge

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler

While Andy Awford made all the right noises about a positive finish to the season in the aftermath of the AFC Wimbledon defeat, he must know the rebuilding job for next term started at around 5pm.

In truth, it had probably already begun.

The evidence was there for all to see at Kingsmeadow.

This current Pompey side will not climb out of League Two – certainly not in this campaign anyway.

Should this same group of players stay together, it’s doubtful they will improve sufficiently to mount a promotion challenge next time around either.

Changes are required.

Players must depart and new blood has to come in if Pompey are to make a genuine challenge to start climbing the divisions again.

Tough, hard-nosed decisions need to be made.

Otherwise, we can all get used to mediocrity in the bottom division for a good while longer yet.

Yes, there have been glimpses in recent weeks.

And two defeats in 12 games is decent form.

But it’s also just one victory in their past six matches at a time in the season when those three consecutive wins over Exeter, Cambridge and Tranmere needed backing up with more to create momentum. The 
reality is they don’t look like a side that will string those wins together – four, five and six on the bounce – that propel a team up the table when they are playing catch-up.

A major problem remains the away form. It is just two wins all season – the lowest tally in League Two.

And to put that into context, the three teams at the bottom (Hartlepool, Cheltenham and Tranmere) each have four wins to their name away from home.

Only Mansfield (13 points and three wins) have taken fewer points than Pompey’s 14 on their travels this term.

Sorry – that is not good enough.

In contrast, the Blues’ eight away draws is the highest of any team in the division.

Swap those draws for four wins and four defeats and Pompey would be four points better off – just five outside the play-off zone not nine.

Too simplistic perhaps. Ifs, buts and maybes.

But whether it is mentality, tactics or personnel, something has to change.

No doubt that will be discussed in the coming weeks as the board and manager formulate the battle plans for next season.

Pompey do not have a divine right to get out of League Two.

But they should be making a better challenge to do so.

– STEVE WILSON