Awford: Carry on attacking

Attacking midfielder Ricky Holmes Picture: Joe Pepler
Attacking midfielder Ricky Holmes Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD told his attacking dynamoes he is relying on their all-action displays to continue.

The Pompey caretaker boss believes the desire of his forward-thinking aces to create chances has been a key factor in his team’s turnaround.

And there can be no let-up in their dynamic displays if the Blues are to make themselves safe in League Two.

Awford has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation since assuming control as caretaker manager. That has seen Ryan Taylor supported by a deep-lying trio who have wreaked havoc against teams.

Their influence was again evident in the weekend victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.

Pompey’s pressing high up the pitch was a hallmark of that success, as Jed Wallace, Michael Drennan and Ricky Holmes went hunting in packs.

Their continuing support for Taylor is key in Awford’s eyes.

He said: ‘In that way we’re playing they have to put a shift in because you can’t leave Ryan isolated.

‘The weakness to the system is if your number nine becomes isolated. You then have a problem.

‘We can’t have that. The team needs to get up the pitch to allow them to get close to Ryan. They can then cause some damage.

‘Fortunately, we’ve been able to do that in the past few games.

‘We’ve worked at getting players in different areas beyond Ryan in training.

‘There has to be options and not two players filling the same hole. It’s simple things like that.

‘We have to keep it simple but effective.’

Awford has set Pompey out to play in the front foot in his games to date.

He admitted he would be less gung-ho against top-drawer opposition, but feels Pompey will be seeing plenty of the ball against their opponents.

He said: ‘If we are at a top, top team we will not have much of the ball

‘But at home against the teams we are playing, and it’s no disrespect to any of them, you can have a fair share of the ball.

‘So if you play one up top, you have to have a runners support him.

‘We insist on that.

‘If players aren’t prepared to run and support him they will have a problem form. But that isn’t the case at the moment. We want threes, fours and fives in the box.’